Happy New Year! Recycling and food chains

Isopod feeding frenzy, Devon 4

Phew! While the water temperature has now dropped to 10 degrees, the wind has eased for the first time in about 2 months and the sea is now a lot calmer.

Loads of seaweed has been washed up on the beach by the winter storms. There are tons more, that can’t be seen from the beach, swirling around close to the shore and around the base of my reef. With the sea now calmer, I will search among it and hunt the small tasty shrimp-like animals (called isopods and amphipods) that are eating the rotting seaweed.

As it’s still too murky to dive, Teresa watches natural recycling in action on the beach. Kelp flies lay their eggs in the seaweed and, when the pale larvae hatch, they start munching away at the fronds starting with the thinnest pieces. Sand hoppers (the little jumpy animals you find on the sand) also eat the rotting seaweed. If you turn over a pile, you will see all the sand hoppers leaping about. Crows, blackbirds and other birds feed on the larvae and sand hoppers. That’s another food chain in action!

Have you heard the recent good news?
17th January 2016.
23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been designated bringing the number to date to 50 (of 127 recommended to the Government in 2011). This is a positive step towards the comprehensive network of sites needed to help your and my sea recover and thrive. There’s still more work to do! www.wildlifetrusts.org