Shorelife

 

PZNOW

Shorelife

Seaweeds

Crustaceans

Molluscs

Worms

Sea Squirts

Echinoids

Coelentrates

Sponges

Bryozoa

Fish

Birds

Unidentifed Items

Cornish Coastline

Shore Site Map

Cornwall is a fascinating place for the wildlife enthusiast. Not only is the Cornish peninsular the most southerly and westerly point; but it is warmed by the Gulf Stream providing a foothold for a host of life forms that cannot survive in other parts of the UK. Additionally with the peninsular jutting into the Atlantic, it is a magnet for the stranding of flotsam, that may have been transported thousands of miles.

As well as the shorelife that are native to this area, you may be lucky to come across some exotic forms. With changing climate conditions unusual animals are being caught off south west Cornwall, particularly by the fishing industry. Not only warm water species but deep water species are being landed more and more at Newlyn, the local fish market. Recent warm water species being caught are flying gurnards and deep water species silver dory and blackfish.

 

   Shore Life

   Where To Look

   When To Look  

   Ground Rules

 

 

 

 

Shore Life  

Shorelife is comprised of primarily marine organisms found between the highest tide marks, the spring high and low tides. Such organisms have to be hardy as this is a severe environment. Twice a day the sea retreats, leaving shorelife exposed to air temperature extremes, the wind and sun. The rest of the time there is a more temperate marine environment, but the shorelife is still buffered by waves.

 

The environmental conditions over this inter-tidal area vary. It is split into different zones, each depending on the period that is uncovered by the sea.

Each zone providing a habitat to;a different range of species. The types of shoreline vary in Cornwall, ranging from sandy, shingle and rocky beaches to rocky cliffs, each type providing different habitats.

 

Rocky Cliffs

Rocky Cliffs

 

 

 

Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach

 

Stoney Beach

Stoney Beach 

 

 

 

Where To Look  

There is a legion of life forms found at the beach, most of which is hidden. To detect these creatures one has to know where to look. There are two main areas to search, below the low tide mark in rock pools and under rocks, and at the strandline.

The strandline represents a high tide mark. It is typically seen as a line of seaweed, but within this are the remains of creatures such as shells and cuttlefish bones. This area is exposed for most of the time and available for investigation, unlike the rock pools that are exposed for only a portion of the day, during low tide.

 

Strand Line

 Strand Line

 

Rock pools

Rock pools 

 

 

 

When To Look  

The best times to look are when the tide is low or after a storm. Low tide will lay the rock pools exposed, while a storm will remove life from the seabed and strand it on the shore.

It is vital to know the state of the tide before looking for shorelife. It is better if the tide is low, and the further it goes out the greater the variety of life can be found.

 

The height and fall of the tides varies considerably, depending on the lunar cycle. Both the sun and the moon gravities have an affect on the tides both high and low.

With new or full moons, the tidal ranges are at their greatest i.e. Spring Tides, with both the sun and moon being in line and hence their gravities work in conjunction.

In the first and third quarters of the lunar cycles both gravities are in opposition, leading to neap tides. The low tides are then at their highest and the high tides are at their lowest. The effect of the lunar cycle is not immediate but lags by about 3 days.

 

Lunar Cycle Spring Tides

              
Sun & Earth in Line Spring Tides

 Lunar Cycle Neap Tides

 
           Sun & Earth Most Off Line Neap Tides

 

 

 

There are two tides every lunar day, a day being 24 hours 50 minutes so the occurence of the tides vary day to day.

 

Ground Rules  

After overturning rocks, make sure to put them back as you found them. If not, the life that has built up on the rock will be exposed to the elements and die. Re-establishment of life on the underside can take years.

Do not remove any live creatures off the beach or store them for more than five minutes in a container as this habitat and its inhabitants are already under pressure.

Take care to find out about the tides before investigating a new site, as tides can turn quickly leading to the danger of being cut off from the mainland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  email: pznow@btopenworld.com