Sandy/Muddy Shores

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Sandy and muddy shores are intertidal ecosystems ranging from coarse gravel and fine sandy beaches, to mudflats around the mouth of an estuary. Although several non-native species can be found buried in soft sediments, the following protocol does not require digging and is a surface study, looking on open shore and beneath any potential refuge items found. These might include loose stones, seaweed or stranded flotsam. This protocol can be followed on sandy, gravelly or muddy shores or on mixed sediment shores. Remember to take care, and avoid working in deep mud or areas where quicksand may be present.

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Download a sheet to record your dataDownload a pribtable survey protocolDownload all species ID cards

Target Species list

Use the links below to download an information card for the species you would like to search for. Alternatively use the link above to download and browse the full selection of species.

Survey Protocol

This survey is based on 10 minute timed searches for individual non-native species. It is up to you which species, and how many species, you search for during your visit to the coast. Please complete a separate 10 minute search per species.

    1) Choose the non-native species you would like to search for.
    2) Print off the species card(s) and recording form(s) to take with you to the shore. Take a pencil, camera and a stopwatch or timer. Most mobile phones have camera and stopwatch facilities.
    3) Check the tide times in your local area to make sure you are surveying for species when the tide is lowest (going on shore an hour in advance of low tide is best).
    4) On the shore, read the species card and locate the appropriate area to search. For the crab species, please search under rocks, seaweed or washed up debris. For the slipper limpet and oysters please search the surface of sand/mud and around strand lines and rocks.
    5) Familiarise yourself with what the species looks like.
    6) Set a ten minute timer and begin searching for your chosen species.
    7) If you think you have found the species on your card - stop the timer - first ask yourself if it has all of the key features listed on the card. In bold are key identifying features which may differ from confusion species. Whether you are unsure or confident, take a photo of the species (referring to the species card for what to photograph) so we can confirm your record.
    8) Fill in the recording sheet whilst the timer is stopped. Please refer to the species card on how to record abundance.
    9) When you are ready, restart the timer and continue searching.
    10) If you do not find the species in the 10 minutes, circle “None” or zero in the box asking ‘Abundance’ Make sure that you have written the name of the species you were looking for on your sheet. If you have decided to search for more than one species, you can now move on to your next species. Please repeat steps 4-10 separately for each new species.
    11) Upload your data onto the website, with the photographs you have taken.

Remember, looking for a species and not finding it is just as important as finding it!

It is important that we do not contribute to the spread of these non-native species. Please look, record and photograph, but leave as found any species you suspect of being a non-native.