Hannah Hereward is a Marine Biology Masters student, from the University of Plymouth and Marine Biological Association. She is also a marine intern with A Rocha UK. A Rocha UK work in partnership with Lee Abbey Devon to conserve wildlife and habitats at this Christian conference centre on Exmoor National Park’s North Devon coastline.
The first aim of Hannah’s studies was to identify the diversity of habitats and species at Lee Bay, Lynton. Hannah found 17 habitats and 110 species. Secondly, she identified the seasonal patterns of growth rates and abundance of a large, brown seaweed (oarweed, Laminaria digitata) and its UK primary grazer, the blue-rayed limpet (Patella pellucida). The oarweed’s peak growth was in May, with maximums of 2cm per day! The blue-rayed limpet abundance peaked in the summer, with maximums of 47 on one oarweed.
Seaweed habitats are critical for carbon absorbtion and as habitat for many species. Reducing pollution on the coast and mechanical damage are important conservation measures.
Why not head down to the coast this summer, at low tide, to explore the wonders of this marine forest and surrounding rocky habitats.
PHOTO at top: Lynmouth Bay kelp beds (photo: Hannah Hereward)