Marine Life News Bulletin

January 2011

ISSN  1464-8156

On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Link to the Marine Life News web pages for 2011
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
BMLSS (Facebook)
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Link to the Fishbase web pages
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
World Register of Marine Species
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009
Link to Sealord Photography
Link to the Aphoto pages

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
Marine Wildlife Reserve
Link to Jim Anderson's Scottish Nudibranch (and other sea slugs) web pages

7-14 years
Oakley Intertidal 
on Facebook
Fish & Sharks of the 
NE Atlantic
New Photographic Gallery on flickr



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
If you receive this bulletin as an EMail subscriber, you may find the best way to view the file is on your hard disc in your directory of Incoming EMails.


Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean

20 January 2011
Two large adult Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, announced their presence by blowing at the surface, of the southern Irish Sea, their spouts seen from from the Fishguard (Wales) to Rosslare (Ireland) car ferry. 
"It was incredibly exciting, the whales blast a thirty foot (10 metres) high column of vapour skywards as they surface to breath. In the cold winter air. The blow hangs in the sky like a massive crystal plume before slowly dissipating" (by Cliff Benson, Sea Trust.) These whales have been seen before in winter but it it is the first sighting during the winter months. 

Sea Trust Welsh Sightings
BMLSS Cetaceans
Whales and Dolphins in British Seas (by Steve Savage)

6 January 2011
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, the north-east tip of Kent, including Palm Bay, Margate; about 40,000 Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, were discovered on the strandline amongst lesser numbers of molluscs, sea anemones, sponges and other washed up invertebrates. The most likely reason for this mass death was hypothermia. 

Previous Report 2010

BMLSS Strandline Reports
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

British Marine Life Study Society 
Facebook Page:

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

British Marine Life on Wikia Science Discussion Groups

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2009


Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.

Trumpet Worm 
washed up at Long Rock, near Penzance, south-west Cornwall
Lagis (=Pectinaria) koreni
Photograph by David Fenwick Snr. (Aphotomarine)
Click on the photograph for a selection of images
BMLSS Polychaeta

Strandlines and Beachcombing (Facebook)


Shorewatch Biological Recording


Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.jpg format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 350K in size.

Looking across St. Brélades Bay, Jersey, and the path I took along the low water mark from Le Fret to Ouasnié on a dull January day

Photograph by Nicolas Joualt

Jersey Geology Trail

British Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Link to more marine life photographs

Click on the album for more links (On-line link)




In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.


Porcupine Marine Natural History Society
Annual Conference 2011 

at the
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

11th - 13th March 2011
 PMNHS will be holding its annual meeting at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.  There will be two days of talks (Friday 11th and Saturday 12th) followed by an excursion/field trip on Sunday 13th.  The theme of “A Celebration of Marine Life” reflects the passion of all of our membership, and links conveniently with the recent culmination of the decade of discovery by the Census of Marine Life.


BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)


Adur World Oceans Day 2011

11 June 2011
Participation of other environmental groups are welcome for Adur World Oceans Day 2011 in Shoreham-by-Sea. This is an interactive exhibition and all stalls need to be manned. Tables, chairs and an electrical supply are provided. To allocate space, we will need to know of exhibitors in advance.


 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

Would you know what to do if you found a whale stranded on a beach?

Each year anywhere between five and 50 whales, dolphins and porpoises are washed up on Britain's beaches.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a volunteer charity, was set up in 1998 to rescue them.

BBC News Report

01825  765546





A Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Wales and Adjacent Waters

by Paul Kay & Frances Dipper 
£19.95 incl. p&p
Soft cover

With 256 pages and numerous photographs supported by drawings, this book is the most comprehensive photographic guide to marine fish currently published in the UK. Published for the Marine Conservation Society with support from the Countryside Council for Wales. 

Click on the image to order this book through the Marine Conservation Society



July 2010


Publisher: Graffeg
Publisher's Review (click on this text)
Review by the City and County of Swansea

This is the book I should have written (and I dare say a few others as well) and is a much needed introduction to the world of the seashore and the hobby of rockpooling. It is a photographic guide to most of the common species encountered which is much appreciated as newcomers and even experienced rockpoolers will try and match up what they have seen to a visual image (and photographs work better than line drawings) and this will usually get them the correct species, (unless there are two very alike species and then you will need a specialist identification guide like the Collins Guide to the Seashore).

However, the seashore is a rich and interesting habitat with a myriad of species and 225 pages of this large pocket guide are comprehensively covered to suit the enthusiast.

Extract from the foreword by Keith Hiscock:
"Being able to names to what you see and, better still, to use your observations to add to our knowledge about the natural world is what this book is about."

But the book for a popular audience is more than this. It starts from the assumption that the parents and teachers and older children are unfamiliar with the seashore environment, so the

1. Getting started
explains about the tides (very briefly: a detailed explanation can be in chapter 2) and the equipment you may need, where and how to look for the seashore critters (my term).
2. Living between the tides
explains about the dynamic nature of the littoral environment and the variations on different coasts. It also introduces the explorer to a few technical terms which are further explored in
3. Zonation
which is a rather important explanation to on what part of the shore what animals and seaweeds are to be discovered and why
4. Habitats
Even between the zones the geography of the seashore varies and this chapter explains what habitats what type of creatures
5. Beachcombing
This is the scavenger's first introduction to the see what the sea has deposited on the strandline complete with an excellent quick guide to the common shells and other treasures
6. Animal Life
The large animal life section is structured roughly by phyla (major groups of animals) ignoring for the most part the specialist microscopic studies. Each animal group is given a brief description including behavioural characteristics. Each animal is given a common name and the important scientific name (because the common names can vary in different localities and in different books) with a photograph, brief written description, habitat preferences and field notes.
"Did you know?
Male crabs have a narrow 'v' shaped tail with 5 joints and in females the tail is wider with 7 joints."
Fish are the most interesting discoveries for many of the fledgling rockpoolers. Most of the common species are included but a frequently encountered species like the Rock Goby, Gobius paganellus, has been omitted.
7. Seaweeds
In contrast to the fish the common macroalgae are well covered.
8. Conservation
This is a good section encouraging participants to take an active interest, how the public can help and a comprehensive list of where to report their findings.
9. Further Information
With a book list and a list of organisations and their web pages, a comprehensive glossary and an index, this has the hook that could result in a lifetime interest in the seashore.

Now why would anybody want to go to Serengeti when we have so much of interest nearer to home?


by Andy Horton (August 2010)

Oakley Intertidal on Facebook

BMLSS Guide Books

June 2009

My larger shrimp net, the same design that appeared on River Walks

The Edible Seashore (River Cottage Handbook No. 5)
by John Wright is published

Not just a cookery book: you have to go down to the shore and catch or collect the food yourself. The 240 page hardback book (with an index) is exceptionally well produced in quality of the binding, paper as well as the quality of writing, information and clear useful colour photographs. It is well organised into nine chapters:

Starting Out:  Conservation and Equipment, including the first paper published instructions on how to construct a shrimp net (push-net). 

Foraging:  Lots of useful and essential information about the tides, weather, safety and what to wear. 

Rule Book: This is the bravest inclusion. John Wright attempts (better than anyone so far) to explain the rules, law and ethics of seashore collection, what you are allowed and not allowed to do. It is worth buying the book for this chapter alone.

The Flowering Plants
The Seaweeds
The Molluscs
The Crustaceans

All the expected species and some unlikely edible candidates are included and each is given two pages. Very informative and lots of information I did not already know. John Wright conducted his research first hand and we shrimped together on Southwick Beach with Peter Talbot-Elsden (as shown in my photograph, not in the book).

The Recipes:  Well I would omit the chilli in the Potted Shrimp. After collecting the food, I am usually a wee bit tired and this chapter should be for your partner. Let me know how you get on?

The home-made shrimp net on page 17 is an identical design to mine, the one used by John Wright before he made his own on our expeditions at Southwick, and the one used by Charlie Dimmick on River Walks filmed on nearby Lancing beach.

Conclusion: Highly recommended, essential purchase ***** (highest five star rating).

BMLSS Shrimping


Kimmeridge Tidings

Autumn 2009

Up to date with all the latest happenings at our Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve in Kimmeridge.

by Peter Stiles
Publisher: Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Philip Henry Gosse was a popular naturalist who moved to Victorian Ilfracombe and wrote his natural science book ‘A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast’. He later designed the first public aquarium, which opened in London. His activities also attracted other naturalists, including Charles Darwin and novelist George Eliot.

This book celebrates the link between Philip Henry Gosse and his rockpool adventures in Devon and contains lots of information about the life of this self-taught Victorian scientist and writer.

in conjunction with an Exhibition that finished on 25 April 2009.

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2008/2009

Publisher:  defra

href="">To obtain a copy from the defra web site, click on this text

Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins
of the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic. 

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.

Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide
reviewed by Wim van Egmond
(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


Decision-making in Marine Mammal
Rescue and Rehabilitation

Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2011
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2011. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

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Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Microscope Internet Explorer 7 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
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Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

     29 January 2011 

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?