Project Seagrass

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As masters students from both Swansea and Glasgow Universities, we’re both currently carrying out seagrass related research projects. Beth is performing her masters project, and Lauren is performing her final year honours project.  Beth is studying the impacts of chain moorings on seagrass, particularly looking at how chain width effects the size seagrass scars. Beth uses a drop down camera frame and GoPro that she drops to the sea floor around moorings while snorkelling.

Seagrass mooring scars in St Mary’s Bay, Isles of Scilly

Lauren is studying the fish communities associated with Seagrass and non-seagrass habitats. Lauren drops baited cameras called BRUVs and leaves these for an hour, when the video is watched back the numbers and species of fish seen in the video are noted.

Mono BRUVs ready to be deployed at Durgan, Helford

Some of our first BRUV drops in Seagrass a couple of weeks ago resulted in us spotting a Cuttlefish, an amazing and unanticipated sighting! Last week we managed to get out on the Tigerlily, Cornwall IFCA’s research vessel to deploy some of the BRUVs in less accessible sites and also deploy some larger camera equipment. This week we have been to the Isles of Scilly to study the moorings in St Mary’s bay. We have managed to find some fantastic seagrass beds in the Helford River and Trefusis channel, and some great examples of seagrass scars too.

Mono BRUVs ready to be deployed at Durgan, Helford

So far the weather hasn’t been all that fantastic, but our last few days have been especially sunny, particularly the weather today in the Isles of Scilly, we’ve very much enjoyed being in the water for our research.  This has been our first time in Cornwall and it has been fantastic, it’s just a shame we’ve been too busy to actually have a look around and be tourists for the day! We’ve both said though that we’d love to come back on holiday to this beautiful part of the country in the future.

Falmouth pictured on a rare British summers day

We have particularly enjoyed talking to people of the local communities while here, as everyone has been very interested in what we have been doing and been wishing us luck with our projects. We have come to realise in our time here that a lot of people do not realise the extent of seagrass around the Cornish coast, a lot of people have at least heard of seagrass here but they don’t realise they have such an amazing ecosystem on their doorstep. We hope our time here has helped improve the knowledge of seagrass along the South West coast.

Lauren and Beth pictured at St Mary’s bay after inspecting the mooring scars