By Sarah Ward
Living Seas Officer
When the tide is low, you’ll find an exposed strip of the beach which spends around half the time underwater called the intertidal zone. The intertidal zone is a fascinating place where the sea meets the land in which you can find a huge variety of habitats and species. Even beaches which look rather barren often reveal a great deal of life when the tide goes out.
Sussex Wildlife Trust coordinates a number of surveys throughout April to September where we go down to the beach and take the time to thoroughly explore and examine the intertidal zone, recording the habitats and species found. The project, known as Shoresearch, is a volunteer scheme which harnesses the joy of rockpooling to collect useful data about our coastline.
We welcome volunteers of all abilities to take part on Shoresearch; you don’t need to have any prior knowledge or experience to come along. Taking part on a survey is a great way to learn and participants have a range of experience levels. Regular volunteers include those with expert understanding to those with no prior knowledge – from students to retirees!
The schedule covers a range of different beaches across Sussex, from Chichester Harbour in the west to Pett Level beach in the east. In recent years, our focus has been on Sussex’s Marine Conservation Zones. There are ten designated and recommended Marine Conservation Zones in Sussex, four of which are on the coast. The data we collect can be used to strengthen the case for their designation as well as provide a long-term data set and keep an eye out for invasive species and climate change indicator species.
Most importantly, Shoresearch is fun, social and a great way to get out and enjoy the coast!
For more information please visit the Shoresearch page on our website.