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The Underwater World

Underwater-Furrowed-crab-Kimmeridge-Julie-HatcherWhether you’re one minute away from the beach or one hour, for many of us, living so close to the sea is one of the best things about living in Dorset. Underwater-Cushion-star-Julie-Hatcher Already this year, our marine conservation team have been finding exciting and unusual things washed up on our beaches at low tide.  The ‘furrowed crab’ was a great find with it being the first recording of this species for Kimmeridge. Underwater-Anemone-shrimp-Chris-Roberts This crab is also a ‘climate change indicator species’ as we’re seeing them spread further north, in line with our seas warming up.  Other seashore species which have been spreading eastwards into Dorset include the ‘toothed topshells’.  These sea snails are common further west but have grown from none at all in the early 2000s to being a common find at Kimmeridge. The small cushion starfish has also become common at Kimmeridge since the first sighting in 2014, and the exotic-looking anemone shrimp that lives within the stinging tentacles of the snakelocks anemone, has also increased in number in recent years.

This year on June 8th,  World Ocean Day celebrated our oceans by encouraging everyone to get out and explore their nearest coastline.

For DWT events:

www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/events

For the snorkel trail and the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge:

www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wild-seas-centre

The top three things to look for this summer on the coast:

Underwater-Stranded-Seahorse-Gail-Frogpie1.  Seahorses:  There have been an unusual amount of seahorses washed up on beaches this year.  This could be a good indicator that we have a healthy population in Dorset.  Let us know if you find one!

2.  Cushion starfish: In rockpools, the cushion star glides along on its myriad tiny tube-feet, as if sliding on ice. This small relative of star fish feeds by everting part of its stomach through its mouth to digest dead and decaying animals and seaweed.Underwater-Flat-Periwinkle

3.  Flat periwinkle: Look for the flat periwinkle in seaweedy pools. They range in colour from sunshine yellow, through burnt orange to chocolate brown and are easy to spot amongst the sea wrack fronds they graze on. The yellow shells are particularly easy to spot, looking like discarded sweetcorn kernels!Underwater-logo