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Marine and Seashore Life

[photo by Paul Parsons; undulate ray off Shoreham 2002]
Paul is a very keen diver and under-water stills photographer who has an extensive library of images of British marine life.

Sussex possess miles of curving coastline with a rich variety of habitats. Natural substrates including sand, mud, shingle, chalk rock, greensand and clay provide opportunities for a rich variety of seashore and marine life. Piers, seawalls, timber, wrecks, boulders and other artificial substrates provide further homes for marine life. With apparent changing environmental conditions species normally found further west in the Channel have and are extending their ranges into Sussex including jewel anemones. A visit to the sea shore or a dive can be very rewarding.

Further images of this evolving site here.

Compared to our knowledge of what is present on land our understanding of what is beneath the waves is tiny. Recording the presence and distribution of organims on land is very popular. The same rewards can be had from recording on the shore and beneath the waves. Information on habitats, as well as species, can provide important data that can be used to extend our understanding of our marine heritage, help in understanding the threats to the marine environment and aid in the planing process.

Such information can be sent in for collation to marine@chelifer.com

The minimum data needed to make a record useful are:

    Date of record
    Place
    Grid or Lat. Long.Name of recorder
    Species/habitat recorded.

In addition data on weather, tide, substrate, visibility, ... can also be useful. Better to have too much data than not enough.


Life along a Limb
Visit the marine world of the west Newhaven arm. There's a carpark (free in the evenings/night and some times of the year). This 'adopted stite' is quite popular with divers despite the staggering walk across the dunes of shingle from the car park to the seashore! A good cardio-vascular work-out before you're in the water. Its a good idea to catch your breath before getting under.

Follow the wall and blocks that extend in a SE direction. Alternatively, if you want to look at the gullies and soft sea bed try swimming out in an arc towards the breakwater starting about 80-100 m to the west of the structure. Close inshore, near the wall, is an area that can accumulate detached weed and other debris, not very attractive (if you find a small yellow torch – it's mine and came off my Nikonos close-up kit. This results from the circulation effects of longshore drift W to E.

During the year the life on the wall, the huge concrete blocks of concrete and the adjacent seabed varies enormously. Fish are numerous and being a harbour arm the site is accessible to 'dry fishermen' so be careful of lines and hooks, and respect other users interests. Be aware of line, whether in use of discarded, and the potential of being caught. Be aware also of other divers hunting for fish. Despite this unfortunate activity the fish present don't seem to be 'diver-shy'. Some divers have abused the attached life by taking oysters, which are not particularly common anyway. Sadly, lobsters are also taken. They have a hard enough time with commercial fishering let alone sneeky divers going after them as well.

The site extends for about 740 metres starting at Lat N50°:46':492 (50.780203) ; Long (WGS84) E0°:03':092 (0.052401) ; Grid Reference TV447998 to Lat N50°:46'34" (50.776156); Long (WGS84) E0°:03':27" (0.057543) ; LR TV451994.

Depths obviously vary with tide going down to a maximum of 14 or so metres. The position of the breakwater means that the only current that has be taken into account is the one associated with an ebbing tide which close to the wall can be quite fierce. The breakwater also shelters the sea when there is a strong easterly, making it calmer and also clearer. So, if you can't dive Seaford Bay because vis. is down to less than a meter then come here. Visiblity goes to hell once a moderate westerly/south-westerly kicks in – a typical feature of Sussex beach diving.

  Some Sussex and other related marine links

Great British Wildlife The site is dedicated to the fantastic array of wildlife and natural history that our diverse islands have to offer - including Sea Horses.
Scuba Spots: East Sussex
Scuba Diving Sussex
Sub Aqua: East Sussex
Dive Index
Diving Sussex
UK Rec Scuba
Our World: Mulberry Harbour
East Sussex County Council Marine Guide
MCS, Marine Conservation Society UK
BASC, British Subaqua Club
BIOSIS
Sussex Sea Search
Sussex Seasearch
Diver Net
Marlin
RORE: River Ocean Research & Education
Scuba Diving Books
Sussex Dive Club
Scuba Diving Links
Good Beach Guide: SE Beaches
Lancing Village, Sussex, marine page
Ship Wreck
Sea Watch Foundation
Our World, Sussex
Scuba Sports, East Sussex
Ray Hamblett, Shore
Scuba Training
Ray Hamblett, Wide Water Lagoon
Lancing Village, Wide Water Lagoon
BioImage
British Marine Life Study Group: Sussex
British Marine Life Study Group home page

What is it? Why does it live there?
To help identify and find out more about organisms try the following:

Angel MV, 1993, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 48 Marine planktonic Ostracods, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

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Barrett J & Yonge CM, 1958-1967, Collins Pocket Guide to the Sea shore, Collins

Bassindale R, 1964, Synopses of the British Fauna No.14 British Barnacles, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Bassingdale R, 1964, Synopses of the British Fauna No. 14 British Barnacles, Linnean Society of London

Brinkhurst RO, 1982, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series)

No. 21 British and Other marine and Estuarine Oligochaetes, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Bson R, 1982, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 24 British Nemerteans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Burrows EM, 1987, Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 2 Chlorophyta, Natural History Museum London

Cambell AC, 1988, Country Life Guides: The Seashore and Shallow Seas of Britain and Europe, Country Life Books

Carefoot T & Simpson RD, 1977, Seashore Ecology, University of Queensland Press

Christensen T, 1987, Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 4 Tirophyceae (Xanthophyceae),

Cornelius PFS, 1995, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No.50 North-West European Thecate Hydroids and their Medusae, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Cremona J, 1988, A Field Atlas of the Seashore, Cambridge

Crothers J & M, 1988, A key to the Crabs and Crab-like animals of British inshore waters, offprint 155, AIDGAP: Field Studies Council

Dipper F, 1987, British Sea Fishes, Underwater World Publications Ltd

Dixon PS & Irvine LM, 1977, Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 1 Rhodophyta Part 1 Introduction, Nemaliales, Gigartinales, British Museum (Natural History)

Emig CC, 1979, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 13 British and Other Phoronids, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Erwin D & Picton B, 1987, Guide to Inshore Marine Life, IMMEL Publishing

Fincham AA, 1984, Basic Marine Biology, CUP-BM(NH)

Fitter R & Ray S, 1984, Collins Gem Guide: The Seashore, Collins

Fletcher Rl, 1987, Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 3 Fucophyceae (Phaeophyceae) Part 1, Natural History Museum London

Fraser JH, 1981, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 20 British Pelagic Tunicates, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

George JD & Harman-Schroder G, 1985, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 32 Polychaetes: British Amphinomida, Spintherida and Eunicida, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Gibbs PE, 1977, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 12 British Sipunculans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Gibson R, 1982, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series No. 24 British Nemerteans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Gotto V, 1993, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 46 Commensal & Parasitic Copepods associated with Marine Invertebrates (and Whales), Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Graham A, 1971, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 2 British Prosobranchs, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Green J & Macquitty M, 1987, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 36 Halacarid Mites, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Gubbay S, 1988, Coastal Directory for Marine Nature Conservation, Marine Conservation Society

Harris VA, 1990, Sessile Animals of the Sea shore, Chapman & Hall

Hass W De & Knorr F, 1966, The Young Specialist Looks at Marine Life, Burke

Hawkins SJ & Jones HD, 1992, Marine Field Course Guide 1: Rocky Shore, Marine Conservation Society

Hayward P, Nelson-Smith T & Shields C, 1996, Collins Pocket Guide: Seashore of Britain & Europe, Collins

Hayward PJ, 1988, Animals on seaweed: Naturalists' Handbook 9, Richmond Publishing Co.Ltd

Hayward PJ, 1994, Animals on sandy shores, Richmond Publishing Co.Ltd

Hayward PJ, 1985, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 33 Ctenostome Bryozoans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Hayward PJ & Ryland JS, 1990, The Marine Fauna of the British Isles and North-West Europe; Vol 1, Vol 2, Oxford Scientific Publications

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Hiscock S, 1986, A field key to the British Red Seaweeds, Occasional Publ. 13, AIDGAP: Field Studies Council

Hiscock S, 1979, A field key to the British Brown Seaweed, offprint 125, AIDGAP: Field Studies Council

Holdrich DM & Jones JA, 1983, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 27 Tanaids, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Howard C, Bruncton C & Curry GB, 1979, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 17 British Brachiopods, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Ingle RW, 1983, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 25 Shallow-water Crabs, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Irvine LM, 1983, Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 1 Rhodophyta part 2A Cryptonemiales (sensu stricto) Palmariales, Rhodymeniales, British Museum (Natural History)

Irving R, 1998, Sussex Marine Life, East Sussex County Council

Jones AM & Baxter JM, 1987, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 37 Molluscs: Caudofoveata, Solenogastres, Polyplacophora and Scaphopoda, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Jones NS, 1976, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 7 British Cumaceans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Kabata Z, 1992, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 47 Copepods Parasitic on Fish, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

King PE, 1973, Pycnogonids, Hutchinson

King PE, 1986, Sea Spiders: a revised key to the adults of littoral Pycnogonida in the British Isles, offprint 179, AIDGAP: Field Studies Council

Kirkpatrick PA & Pugh PR, 1984, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 29 Siphonophores and Velellids, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

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Manuel RL, 1981, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 18 British Anthozoa, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Mauchline J, 1984, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 30 Euphausida, Stomatopod and Lepostracan Crustaceans, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

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Millar RH, 1970, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No.1 British Ascidians, Linnean Society of London/Estuarine & Brackish Water Society

Moore PG & Seed R eds., 1985, The Ecology of Rocky Coasts, Hodder & Stouton

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Naylor E, 1972, Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series)

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No. 34

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