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2018 News from the CEDaR Team

22 October 2018

Carlingford Lough Marine BioBlitz

This October, CEDaR ran a marine Bioblitz weekend around the shores of Carlingford Lough. The outcome from the BioBlitz are summarized here.

Nestled between the Mourne Mountains to the north and the Cooley Mountains to the south, Carlingford Lough and its surroundings are enjoyed by many for its natural beauty, interesting archaeology and geology and also as a mecca for outdoor adventure sports. The rich biodiversity of the area is another draw and it is protected under a number of environmental designations, including the Carlingford Lough Marine Conservation Zone. As well as recreation, the lough also supports a range of commercial activity, but despite increasing uses and pressures, the ecological systems of the lough remain relatively ‘under-studied’ and for this reason, the idea for a BioBlitz event came about.

 

CEDaR support BioBlitz events throughout the year but it has been 5 years since the last Marine BioBlitz. The Carlingford Lough Marine BioBlitz brought together a group of environmental recorders, of all ages and backgrounds, with varied levels of experience and from both sides of the border to explore the flora and fauna around the lough. As well as connecting with the recording community and promoting marine recording, the purpose of the event was to fill evidence gaps and in doing so support environmental monitoring and management around the lough.

Day 1

On Saturday 6th October 2018, 10 divers from SEASEARCH NORTHERN IRELAND (a citizen science project which utilises recreational scuba divers to collect data on underwater species and habitats) boarded the Louth Adventure’s RIBs from Greenore and headed out to the first dive site: ‘Buoy no. 9’. The visibility was remarkably good and a variety of sponges, crustaceans and fish were recorded, including the diver’s favourite, a Tompot blenny. The divers also observed butterfish displaying extraordinary breeding behaviours. Meanwhile, those of us at the surface were treated to gannets diving and a fleeting glimpse of harbour porpoises. During the second dive, off the shore at Greenore, sea squirts, anemones and echinoderms were 

abundant and dazzling footage of swimming feather stars was captured. By the end of the day, 83 species records had been recorded by Seasearchers and meanwhile, marine experts and a team from COASTWATCH Ireland were already out exploring the shore and collecting information on intertidal species as well as the occurrence of litter.

Day 2

Over 20 participants convened in Kilbroney Forest Park in the morning before braving the weather and dispersing, either to record seabirds and waders with Jen Lynch and Rasmus Pederson from BIRD WATCH IRELAND at Rostrevor Green or to join ULSTER WILDLIFE on guided ferry surveys to observe marine mammals.

Interesting sightings from Rostrevor Green included the Red-breasted merganser, the Great crested grebe, large numbers of Redshank and Oystercatcher and the endangered Curlew. In addition toabundant seabirds, the ferry surveyors counted 19 common seals, a protected species in Northern Ireland which can be found hauled out at a number of sites around Carlingford Lough.

In the afternoon, participants targeted the dropping tide, either moving onto Narrow Water Keep with Bird Watch Ireland, joining in on CoastWatch surveys or setting off independently to explore the shore for marine invertebrates, seaweeds, flowering plants or lichens, whilst also keeping an eye out for shark, skate or ray egg cases in the driftline to feed into the SEADEEP project.

Overall the Carlingford Lough Marine BioBlitz was a great success and a huge thanks goes to all those who played a role in organising, running or participating in the event. Across the whole weekend, a total of 257 species were recorded, covering 20 taxon groups and including 25 marine priority species, 7 invasive species and 8 species which had not been recorded in the lough previously. These records will make a valuable contribution to the future protection of this ecologically rich area. A full species list is provided below.

A full species list is provided below.The species list from the weekend is available here

Highlights

  • 46 participants
  • 257 species, including:

25 Northern Ireland Priority Species
7 Invasive Species

  • First Northern Ireland record for the Spear-Leaved Orache
  • First Carlingford Lough record for:

Mouse Ear Snail Myosotella denticulata
Encrusting sponge Myxilla fimbriata
Sea squirt Pyura microcosmus
Caloplaca thallincola (Lichen)
Collemopsidium foveolatum (Lichen)
Lecania turicensis (Lichen)
Opegrapha calcarea (Lichen)

  • 2 dogfish egg cases
  • 1 sighting of a red squirrel from Warrenpoint Wood, coinciding with the ‘marine’ Bioblitz!

Links for all the organisations and projects mentioned are listed here:

Seasearch Northern Ireland: http://www.seasearch.org.uk/
Coast Watch: http://coastwatch.org/europe/
CEDaR Online Recording: https://www2.habitas.org.uk/records/home
Sea Deep NI: https://www.seadeepni.org/about
THE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS: https://www.tcv.org.uk/
ULSTER WILDLIFE: https://www.ulsterwildlife.org/
BIRD WATCH IRELAND: https://www.birdwatchireland.ie/

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15 August 2018

Divers contribute to monitoring marine litter

Divers contribute to monitoring marine litter - News ArticleMonitoring marine litter is vital for identifying its source and tackling the problem. We have analysed litter records collected by Seasearch divers to assess how this previously untapped dataset might provide additional information to support research.

You can read the full report here: Seasearch Marine Litter Records 2018 (pdf 2.29mb)

 

For more details contact Sally Stewart-Moore sally.stewart-moore@nmni.com

Photo Credit: Phil Wilkinson


 

1 May 2018

National Plant Monitoring Scheme

NPMS-NI

Volunteers are being sought to monitor wild flower and plant populations across Northern Ireland.

The National Plant Monitoring Scheme is an important UK-wide survey to assess habitats and ecosystems, as well as species and diversity.

We generally have a good understanding of changes in the populations of birds, butterflies and bats. However, plants are the foundation of habitats and ecosystems, yet currently we do not have a good measure of changes in plant populations across the country.

CEDaR and NIEA are joining forces to roll out this initiative in Northern Ireland. All the information you need to take part in this monitoring scheme will be provided and you will be guided through the process.

For more details, and to find out which squares are available near you, log on to the National Plant Monitoring Scheme website or contact pauline.campbell@nmni.com