The Shore Thing

Quadrat Survey

The Shore Thing is an initiative of the Marine Biological Association, working with schools and community groups around the British Isles to collect information on rocky sea shore life. The project follows on from the UK’s Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change Programme (MarClim). MarClim provides evidence that recent climate change has altered the abundance, population structure and biogeographic ranges of a number of intertidal indicator species. The survey protocol and methodologies have been developed from MarClim. All the information collected by volunteers will be made available online and will help to build a picture of the present state of UK rocky shores and measure change in the future.

The Asian Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) reaches UK shores....

Hemigrapsus sanguineusTwo sightings of the non-native Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) have been recorded in the mainland UK for the first time ever!! The two records in the past month have come from completely different parts of the UK – one from Barry Island in Wales and the other from Kent. These records have raised concern from the Shore Thing team as this is a non-native species for the UK and may affect populations of our native species, common shore crab (Carcinus maenas) and edible crab (Cancer pagurus), through distribution overlap and competition.

Species change for the Shore Thing timed species search...

Due to the 2 recent Hemigrapsus sanguineus  records in the UK, the Shore Thing project has decided to make a vital change in the timed species search. The Green Ormer (Haliotis tuberculata) has been removed as a species in the timed species search and replaced with the Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus). We believe this is an important change as records of the Green Ormer only come in from the Channel Islands, where it is a native species, and recording the Asian shore crab starting from this early stage will be incredibly significant when monitoring it’s spread through the UK. If you find any Hemigrapsus sanguineus during a timed species search then please take a photo and send it in so we are able to verify and validate this record. An updated survey form is attached with this email for future use. Species cards have already been made for this species, as the Channel Islands search for this non-native during their timed species search, so if you could all reply back to this email with updated postal addresses so we can send you out the species card to use in your surveys.

Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) ID and background...

Distribution and background: This crab is native to the Western Pacific Ocean in Russia, China, Korea, Hong Kong and the Japanese archipelago. This species has then spread to the US and Europe (brought in by ships), and has now in 2014 reached the UK mainland. Found in intertidal rocky shore, in rock pools and under rocks and boulders.

ID: Relatively small crab with adults carapace size ranging from 35mm to 42mm. Distinct square shaped carapace with 3 spines on each side of carapace. Colour ranges from orange-brown to green-purple and their legs are light and dark banded. There is a photo attached with this email of Hemigrapsus sanguineus for you to familiar yourselves with if you aren’t already.

Click here for more informtaion on Hemigrapsus sanguineus

Shore Thing Ireland (ShorTIE)

Training at Dogs BayThanks to the support of the Irish Research Council the Shore Thing Project was officially launched in Ireland with two training sessions held on the 31st March and 1st April. This is great news for all involved in the Project as Shore Thing is now more than a UK project but extends to the British Isles with the launch of the Shore Thing in the Channel Islands at the end of 2013.

The two training sessions held at Dogs Bay and Spiddal attracted a variety of volunteers from Universities, environmental organisations and Seasearch. All left with experience on how to conduct a survey and eagerness to organise surveys in their local area.

The results will be fed into the Shore Thing database and once verified the timed species search data will be sent to the National Biodiversity Network ( The data from Ireland will help us to assess the long term impact of climate change on the rocky shores of the British Isles.

Click here to download dates and locations for surveys in Ireland during May 2014

Click here to email your interest in getting involved in Shore Thing surveys in Ireland.

Shore Thing Survey Guide!

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

This new guide sets out Shore Thing survey techniques and species identification.  Printed on waterproof paper this A5, 24 page guide contains: a brief explanation of the main features of the rocky shore; details on how to carry out a transect survey and timed species search; anatomical features of seaweed and sea snails, and photographs and key features of 43 species.  There is a special section on non-native species, records of which should be sent to the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN)

This guide is free of charge to Shore Thing participants.  Please contact the Shore Thing Project Officer, Jack Sewell.  Email: or telephone: 01752 633336.  If you would like several copies, a donation towards post and packing would be very much appreciated.

Species of the Month

Over the past three years Species of the Month has featured all 22 climate change indicators used during the Shore Thing timed species search and a number of non-native species. Click here to see the full list of species and accompanying information.