We had a mass die off last week, hundreds of thousands of starfish were deposited on the shore between Fraisethorpe and Barmston (East Yorks; Holderness).
Wash ups dominated by Asterias rubens and Crossaster papposus, in some places the carcasses where over 30 cm thick. Also occasional Marthasterias glacialis and Henricia spp.
Large numbers of Lutraria lutraria, Mactra stultorum, Spisula spp., Mya spp., Donax spp., Gari spp. and huge numbers of Ensis spp., Buccinum undatum and Mytilus edulis (hundreds of thousands). In addition, occasional Octopus vulgaris and Loligo spp. (probably forbesii).
Large number of decapod crustacea, including Carcinus maenas, Cancer pagurus, Pagurus sp., Hyas spp., Corystes, Necora, Liocarcinus spp. and quite a few lobsters (Homarus gammarus), I kept a couple for the pot as they were still alive).
Polychaetes included Nereis and Neathes spp., Nephtys spp., Aphrodita aculeata, Arenicola defodiens, Scoloplos armiger and Harmothoe spp.
Huge numbers of Cnidarians were also observed including Urticina felina, Actinia equina and Actinia fragacea, Sagartia spp.
Large numbers of fish were also recorded including; Scyliorhinus caniculus, Raja clavata, Syngnathus acus, Limanda limanda, Platichthys flesus, Pleuronectes platessa, Ammodytes spp., Echiichthys vipera, Callionymus lyra, Pholis gunnellus, Myoxocephalus scorpius, Taurulus bubalis, Cyclopterus lumpus, Liparis montagui, Liparis liparis, Clupea harengus, large numbers of Merlangius merlangus, less common were, Lipophrys pholis, Mullus surmuletus and Eutrigla gurnardus. Skeletal remains of Gadus morhua and Sebastes marinus (head intact) were prevalent across the beaches, however, it is difficult to determine whether these were the remains from fishing activity, as S. marinus carcasses are used as bait in pots.
Dead mammals included Phocoena phocoena, Phoca vitulina and Rabbits ?? (presumably washed off the beachs)
Plus tons of weed and Flustra foliacea.
Benthic Projects Manager
IECS, University of Hull
Tel 01482 465661 Fax 01482 465001
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