The South West Marine Ecosystems 2019 Annual Report is now available. The report captures and brings together observations of this English region's spectacular marine life, which have included jellyfish blooms, fish never before seen in south west England, even a swordfish washed ashore in Somerset!
This is the sixth report in the series which represents a substantial collaborative effort by many organisations and individuals.The information is shared with over 650 people on the South-West Marine Ecosystems mailing list.
Many of the region's marine research and conservation bodies contribute information and expertise, but what makes the SWME report unique is that it documents ongoing observations made by the public, for example ad hoc records posted on social media, or through citizen science projects. As Keith Hiscock, lead editor of the report and Associate Fellow at the Marine Biological Association says: "Observations collated from marine research institutes and volunteer projects such as Seasearch provide the backbone of the report but it is the records sent to us by the public and harvested from social media that fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Together, these observations make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the south west marine environment and how it is changing."
The SWME Reports highlights trends, with charismatic species such as bluefin tuna and crawfish on the increase, as are non-native Pacific oysters in some Cornish inlets. On the whole, however, observations show that 2019 was an unexceptional year.
Dr Hiscock encourages members of the public to report their observations: "Do tell us what you have seen of south west marine life, all it takes is a photo, a location and a date. Don't worry if your observations seem ordinary; records of commonly seen marine animals, algae, plants and seabirds are just as important as unusual sightings."
Post your marine life observations on Twitter and tag us in @thembauk