Marine Life News Bulletin

...January 2016

     ISSN  1464-8156

Mediterranean Gull (Photograph by Jean-Paul Charteris)
On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
News 2016

Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Link to the main news page for 2014
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Courses (Marine Life)
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 Sealord Photography
Link to the Aphoto pages

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
Link to Jim Anderson's Scottish Nudibranch (and other sea slugs) web pages

7-14 years
Oakley Intertidal 
on facebook
Fish & Sharks of the 
NE Atlantic
New Photographic Gallery 
on flickr
Link to the Sealife Survey on facebook (Marine Biological Assoc. of the Uk.)
Link to Coastal Topography on flickr
Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland
How to obtain the book and review



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 Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.


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

January 2016

Calm seas lapping against 
Shoreham Beach
Goose Barnacles
Photograph by Denise Johnson

The first month of the year was characterised by frequent gales interspersed with calm weather. The gales blew in the usual debris of seaweeds and shells on to the strandline, including unusually high numbers of pelagic rafting animals especially thousands of clumps of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, attached to floating objects have been washed ashore all along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent and on west facing Atlantic shores. Beachcombers have discovered the tiny Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus. amongst the wrecks. Other wrecks include moribund Loggerhead Turtles, Caretta caretta, Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, and more Barrel Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus. Clumps of the poisonous mineral oil were also washed ashore in large unsightly amounts on most of the south coast of England. 

List of trans-Atlantic rafting species (Aphotomarine)
BMLSS Strandlining/Beachcombing

25 January 2016
A fifth Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered washed up dead on the inaccessible coast at at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. 

Expert and observations seem to conclude that the original pod of the 17 Sperm Whales entered the shallower North Sea from deeper  northerly seas and that the complete pod perished in two weeks. 

Click on the map for the full illustrated report by Philip Hoare for the Daily Mail.

New Scientist Report

24 January 2016

Sperm Whales stranded at Skegness
Photographs by Graham G.N. Cummings

Calamitously, the other three Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, in the pod (see below) were found washed ashore dead at Skegness. Two were stranded together on the sandy beach. 

Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP): UK Strandings

22 January 2016

Sperm Whale stranded at Hunstanton
Photographs by Bull of the Bog

Four Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, were seen very close inshore under Hunstanton cliffs, Norfolk at night. Three swam back out into The Wash and one a big bull got stranded. It was probably already injured it was bleeding heavily from its tail, as the tide ebbed away so did its life. The following day a team of vets from  Zoological Society of London (ZSL) raced against the tide to carry out a field necropsy and crowds of curious sightseers gathered to view this stranded leviathan

Previous (2011) stranding at Hunstanton

12 January 2016

Five Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, beached on the Dutch Wadden Sea island of Texel all died overnight as expected. The whales were spotted in difficulty close to the shore and rescue efforts continued until midnight, without success.

8 January 2016
Two male Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore dead on the island of Wangerooge in the shallow waters of the German Wadden Sea. The largest whale measured 13 metres and the smaller whale at 12 metres.

Sperm Whales are huge whales that inhabit deep water and are unusual and out of place in the shallow part of the southern North Sea. 

Altogether, the final count of dead Sperm Whales on the Dutch and German coasts was 12. A fishing net was discovered in the stomach of one of the dead whales. 

BMLSS Cetacea

30 December 2015
Another Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was washed ashore dead on Chesil Beach in Dorset, west of West Bexington.

BMLSS Turtles

29 December 2015

Ammonites from Charmouth 
Photographs by Doug Chalk

A mudslide on Charmouth Beach, Dorset, attracted fossil hunters underneath the unstable cliff for ammonites etc. on a pleasant December day, turning to rain with the cliff battered by waves and Near Gale Force (Force 6 gusting to Gale Force 8) winds. 
Geology of East Charmouth

Late November - December 2015

Chama florida
Planes minutus
sipunculan Phascolosoma (Phascolosoma) granulatum

Debris washed across the Atlantic Oceans housed pelagic visitors rarely, if ever, recorded in British seas. The finds included Florida Rock Shells, Stramonita floridana, found by Steve Trewhella living on a Goose Barnacle covered long line buoy found at Chapmans Pool, Dorset; over fifty tiny Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus. amongst the wrecks; miniature amphipods Caprella andreae; and a very special find of the tubes of the tiny Thimble Jellyfish Linuche unguiculata, by Steve Trewhella on Chesil Beach, and by David Fenwick Snr in Cornwall on flotsam. 

Cerithium litteratum
Stramonita floridana
Linuche unguiculata

Also, three 60 mm long native sipunculans Phascolosoma (Phascolosoma) granulatum were found inside a buoy with seven Columbus Crabs washed ashore on Cornwall. In November another vagrant washed in from America was the Pretty Jewel BoxChama florida. Tracey Williams found a Scotty bait pot on a beach near Newquay, Cornwall, which contained ten attractive shells of Cerithium litteratum, a Caribbean gastropod mollusc never seen before on British mainland shores. The snails would have entered the pot as larvae, living on algae growing on the inside. David Fenwick Snr also discovered the bivalve mollusc shells of the Crested Oyster Ostrea equestris  Isognomon bicolor and Isognomon radiatus all attached to the same bucket washed ashore at Marazion, south Cornwall.

List of trans-Atlantic rafting species (Aphotomarine)
BMLSS Strandlining/Beachcombing


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

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

British Marine Life Study Society
facebook Page:

This is designed for quick less important chatty news items. Photographs can be uploaded quickly which is only possible on the Yahoo Group by going to the web page.

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link

Lots of marine wildlife reports from Shetland on facebook
Photographs include undersea, sea mammals and birds. 
Click on the image to connect


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

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2009


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. 

Photograph by Andy Horton

At low tide level in the middle of the day on 25 October 2015, an Oystercatcher probed in the mud and hammered hidden molluscs on the Flood Arches of the River Adur (by Little Norfolk Bridge). Expert birdwatchers will note the very broad white neck band, or collar, of this bird.

White Collar of the Oystercatcher
The most conspicuous but least understood plumage change among fully grown Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus occurs on the black throat and sides of the neck, where at times a contrasting white collar is present. Witherby et al. (1940) indicate that collar occurrence is related to age and time of year, but only Buxton (1963) has discussed the collar's possible significance. 

The collar on this particular bird is very wide, perhaps 30 mm. This seems to be the widest it gets and it is usually (by viewing other photographs) narrower, often just appearing as a thin line. 

NB: Because the nasal groove is only halfway down its beak, it is not thought to be the subspecies Haematopus ostralegus longipes.

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images



Shorewatch Biological Recording


Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and any other interesting information including 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 1 Mb in size.

Natural Bridge at Gunpath Rocks, Hartland Quay, north Devon
Photograph by Ivan Jeffery

Hartland Quay is on the north Devon coast exposed the battering by Atlantic waves, gradually eroding the sedimentary rocks and in this photograph producing a natural bridge which will surely fall during a storm in a relatively short time.

Rocky Coastline near Elmsott, Devon
© Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Mansley Rock is in the foreground, and Gunpath Rock is the group at the top of the image. 
This telephoto assisted image was taken from the South West Coast Path.

Local Geology of Hartland Quay
The rocks of Hartland Quay are the remains of a mountain range.  Sedimentary rocks were deposited in a shallow sea during the Carboniferous period – about 320 million years ago. The layers are sequences of shales and mudstones representing the remains of sub-marine “avalanches” of sediments called turbidites. At the same time as the sands and mudstones were being deposited at Hartland, coals were being deposited in swamps.

Hartland Quay Street View

Click on the images for the original photographs or links to more images

British Coastal Topography

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.

11 June 2016
Adur World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Events occurred all around the world on and around this day.

Adur will be one of the UK leaders in presenting the seventeenth environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. The British Marine Life Study Society will present the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) take an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presents the whale and dolphin exhibition.   Exhibitors are available to find the time to answer questions about marine life.
Other participants will include Southwick Camera Club with an exhibition of seascapes and marine life.

World Oceans Day on facebook
Adur World Oceans Day on facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages
For details of the Porcupine Marine Nature History Society meetings click on the link on the left


 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

Would you know what to do if you found a whale stranded on a beach?

Each year anywhere between five and 50 whales, dolphins and porpoises are washed up on Britain's beaches.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a volunteer charity, was set up in 1998 to rescue them.

BBC News Report

01825  765546






The Essential Guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline

This richly illustrated guide will become a steadfast companion for beach visitors wishing to identify what the sea washes up
By: Steve Trewhella (Author), Julie Hatcher (Author)


304 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations
Wild Nature Press

Fish Atlas of the Celtic Sea, North Sea, and Baltic Sea
Based on international research vessel data
Author: edited by Henk J.L. Heessen, Niels Daan, Jim R. EllisPrice: € 79,50
An in-depth reference work on marine fish, this is the first complete overview of all marine fish species found in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Celtic Sea. Whereas European research mainly focuses on species of commercial interest, this atlas documents current data of all Western European fish species caught in the period 1977 to 2013.

How to obtain the book and review




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 2016
Please join the facebook group for free. Formal membership of the Society has ceased.  Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

For technical reasons, TORPEDO is no longer being sent out by EMail. It is simply easier to view the bulletins on the web pages.


The Bulletin is designed to be viewed on Internet Explorer using medium fonts at a resolution of 1024 x 768. 
Viewing should be possible on Mozilla and other browsers.

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors
     29 January 2016 
Copyright  2016   ©    British Marine Life Study Society 
Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs