Marine Life News Bulletin

January 2010

ISSN  1464-8156

On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Link to the Fishbase web pages
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
World Register of Marine Species
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
Marine Wildlife Reserve



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
If you receive this bulletin as an EMail subscriber, you may find the best way to view the file is on your hard disc in your directory of Incoming EMails.


Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean

25 January 2010
A ten metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered after becoming stranded on rocks at Beadnell Bay on the Northumberland Coast, north-east England. The whale had been dead for several days.

Report and Photograph by Victoria Metheringham on the 

Photograph by Victoria Metheringham

The Sperm Whale is the largest species of toothed whale, reaching 18 metres (59 ft) and weighing 57 tonnes (male). This whale is capable of diving to a depth of more than 1000 metres and can remain submerged for over an hour. A fatty substance in the blood prevents dangerous nitrogen bubbles forming in their blood on deep dives, so they are able to descend to great depths, and return to the surface without decompression.

Comments by Steve Savage
Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

The last BMLSS recorded stranding of a deep water Sperm Whale on the English North Sea coast occurred when two were stranded in separate incidents on North Sea coasts in February 2006.
Previous Scottish Stranding 2009
BMLSS Cetaceans

January 2010
Ray's Bream, Brama brama, continue to be washed up on the North Sea coasts of Northumberland and on eastern Scottish shores. 

Ray's Bream
Photograph by Paul Castle, Highland Council

At least fifty Ray's Bream were discovered by the beach cleaning staff between  Roker and Seaburn, at Sunderland, Wearside, north-east England. 

Report by Steve Orwin
BMLSS Ray's Bream

17 - 19 January 2010
After some easterly swells a dead Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, and a Sea Mouse, Aphrodite aculeata, (a worm), were discovered on a beach near Dawlish, south Devon. 

BMLSS Seahorses
BMLSS Sea Mouse

Report and Photographs by Ben Hersey

14- 18 & 19 January 2010
After the heavy seas had dropped on the shore at Blyth, Northumberland, the gulls fed in a frenzy on a large shoal of Sand-eels, Ammodytes. On the subsequent two days I observed a few Ray's Bream, Brama brama, in the same shallows and I speculated that these fish could have been feeding on the Sand-eels seen earlier. 

BMLSS Ray's Bream Reports

18 January 2010

Ian Wrigley discovered this peculiar object on the sandbank of Whitesands in Old Town Bay at low tide, at St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly. This large jelly-like mass was solid and heavy. The green translucent organism was quite slimy, and at 30 cm across it was estimated to weight over 1 kg. The most distinctive feature of this mystery object was the presence of many small whitish nodules within (5 to 10 mm), visible through the jelly, seemingly hard but in actual fact soft and they  would disintegrate with little pressure from the fingers. A few darker feathery patches were visible inside.

Photographs and Description by Ren Hathaway
Report by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)

At this time of year, the Football Sea Squirt (yes, it can be the size of a football) Diazona violacea has lost its zooids and is an off-white, slightly translucent smooth blob with structures (the new zooids) visible through the test. 

BMLSS Tunicates

13 January 2010
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; the crabs have been reported on beaches at Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate, while smaller numbers have been washed up between Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Most of the crabs were the Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, which inhabits the shallow seas beneath the intertidal zone, over rocky substrates. 

BMLSS Strandline Reports
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs

January 2010
Nineteen Ray's Bream, Brama brama, were discovered on the beach at Redcar

Frequent reports of Ray's Bream being washed ashore on North Sea were received. These strandings occurred in 2008 and earlier years.

List of 2009 Reports
More Reports of Ray's Bream on flickr


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

With the closure of Smart Groups at the end of November 2006 most of the 7500+ messages have been filed at:

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Jiglu

However, in November 2009, all these messages were deleted without warning. Sorry. This was out of my control. 

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2008


Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.

Polzeath Rock Pool Study
Photograph by Anna (Cornish Whippet)

A fabulous study of a colourful rockpool at Polzeath on the Padstow Bay  north coast of Cornwall; the main feature of this photograph are the eggs of the gastropod mollusc known as the Dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus, found on unpolluted rocky shores all around the British Isles. Exposed to the Atlantic rollers this rocky shoreline is battered by waves during the winter which seems to favour the attractive Gem (or Wartlet) Anemones, Bunodactis verrucosa,  which can be seen in the pool. In England this sea anemone is only plentiful locally on the north coast of Cornwall. Cornish rockpools are also rich in colourful algae, including the red seaweeds like the common and widespread calcareous Corallina officinalis growing from their attachment points on the rocks.

South West Coast Path
BMLSS Rockpooling


Shorewatch Biological Recording


Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.jpg format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 250K in size.

Starlings over the Sea at Brighton
Photograph © by Bob Proctor

A rather unusual photograph from a marine perspective; a large flock (murmuration) of tens of thousands of winter Starlings over the burnt out remains of the West Pier at Brighton. The Starlings feed on the Sussex downs during the day and return to roost en mass on the Brighton piers. Occasionally a Peregrine Falcon can be seen diving at the flock, the first evidence is the dramatic dispersal of the Starlings from their normal arrow-like formation. A large percentage of the winter Starlings in Sussex are immigrants from eastern Europe. 

British Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Link to more marine life photographs

Click on the album for more links (On-line link)




In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.



9-11 April 2010

Event:  Annual Meeting & Field (Intertidal) & Dive Trips
Venue: Bute Building, University of St Andrews
Theme:  Changing Seas

Costs: The conference fee, which includes tea and coffee, is £30 (£20 for students and unwaged). Non-Porcupine members may join the Society during the conference (by standing order only) for £5, a 50% reduction. If you wish to take advantage of this offer the total fee will be £35.

Full Details
(click on this text)

Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History
Gatty Marine Laboratory

Adur World Oceans Day 2010

Participation of other environmental groups are welcome for Adur World
Oceans Day 2010 in Shoreham-by-Sea. This is an interactive exhibition and all stalls need to be manned. Tables, chairs and an electrical supply are provided. To allocate
space, we will need to know of exhibitors in advance.

The provisional date for this year is 5 June 2010 (to be confirmed). This
will be the 14th consecutive year that this exhibition has been held.


BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)


 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

01825  765546




Kimmeridge Tidings (Autumn 2009)

Up to date with all the latest happenings at our Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve in Kimmeridge.

by Peter Stiles
Publisher: Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Philip Henry Gosse was a popular naturalist who moved to Victorian Ilfracombe and wrote his natural science book ‘A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast’. He later designed the first public aquarium, which opened in London. His activities also attracted other naturalists, including Charles Darwin and novelist George Eliot.

This book celebrates the link between Philip Henry Gosse and his rockpool adventures in Devon and contains lots of information about the life of this self-taught Victorian scientist and writer.

in conjunction with an Exhibition that finished on 25 April 2009.

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2008/2009

Publisher:  defra

href="">To obtain a copy from the defra web site, click on this text

Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins
of the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic. 

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.

Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide
reviewed by Wim van Egmond
(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


Decision-making in Marine Mammal
Rescue and Rehabilitation

Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2010
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2010. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

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Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Microscope Internet Explorer 7 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
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Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

    29 January 2010

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?