Rockpooling at West Runton, photo by Matthew Roberts

Discover seaside soap operas during National Marine Week


Friday 25 June, 2021


Staycations mean more of us are set to discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters, as we visit the seaside for a summer break.

The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week - Saturday 24 July – Sunday 8 August - is celebrating the intriguing, weird and wonderful lives of marine wildlife. They are asking people to celebrate our blue planet by making a one-minute rockpool or coastal movie and posting it on Instagram or Twitter using #NationalMarineWeek; for the chance to be featured by The Wildlife Trusts on social media and win a prize. Film a fish or linger on a limpet – and post your minute movie to celebrate the sea!

Make the most of the coast with Norfolk Wildlife Trust family events, including Coastal Creations and beach wildlife explorer events at NWT Holme Dunes; and Plankton Parties and crafts at NWT Cley Marshes.

Head of Engagement at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Carrie Bewick, said: “Our seas are home to over half of all our wildlife. They provide oxygen for every other breath you take and food for us to eat, which is why it is so important that more and better protection is given to the waters around our shores and they are managed in a sustainable way. The coast is also a great place to exercise, relax and rejuvenate and you never know what wildlife you might spot while you are there. National Marine Week is a chance to celebrate our amazing seas, and I’d encourage people to make the most of the coast and enjoy events hosted by Norfolk Wildlife Trust.”  

 

•    Rockpools: visit West Runton in Norfolk

Battered by waves then exposed as the tide retreats, rock pools are tough places to live. The extraordinary snakelocks anemone harnesses solar power through symbiotic algae, which live in its bright green stinging tentacles. The algae turn sunlight into energy for the anemone, which is why snakelocks live in the sunniest spots in the pool. In return, the algae get benefits in the form of protection and nutrients. 

With rockpool space at a premium, the seemingly serene beadlet anemone defends its place by deploying a ring of bright blue beads full of stinging cells and battling against opponents.  

Clamped tight until the tides cover them, cone shelled limpets zigzag around, feeding on algae scraped off rocks with  their tongue, one of the world’s strongest biological structures! Returning to their home patch, limpets sometimes clash shells; trying to tip each other over or prise their opponent from a rock. No one’s quite sure why, it could be territory or feeding disputes, but one thing’s for sure they’re not the motionless shells they appear to be.  

 

•    Chalk reefs

Chalk reefs are the UK’s equivalent of the Great Barrier Reef, and support a huge diversity of marine life, from starfish and sponges, to shoals of fish. Marine chalk is a globally rare habitat, 75% of all chalk reefs in Europe are found off the South coast; many of them protected by Marine Conservation Zones.

Holes in the chalk are the work of piddocks, also known as angel wings because of the shape of their long oval shell, which has very sharp teeth at one end to burrow into the soft rock. At night, bioluminescence means the edge of the shell glows blue-green.

Underwater chalk cliffs are home to sponges and shelter catsharks, lobsters, and spider crabs. Spider crabs pick seaweed and sponge to decorate and camouflage themselves, using their claws to fix the ‘decoration’ onto hook- like hairs between spines on their shells. 

North Norfolk’s chalk reef, with boulders, stacks and arches, is 20 miles long. It supports 350 species; from red seaweeds to shoals of silvery scad or horse mackerel. Ten years ago, during a National Marine Week survey, divers found a distinctive purple sponge which hadn’t been seen before, later identified as new to science! This year children in Norfolk were asked to name the sponge, it’s now called the Parpal Dumplin, because it’s purple and looks like a dumpling!
 
Share this

Top news stories

2022-05-19 NWT helps Norfolk's coastal co NWT helps Norfolk's coastal communities care for their environment
Thursday 19 May, 2022
Free environmental workshops and project grants available for local communities to enable action.  Norfolk Wild...
2022-05-16 Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Nat Norfolk Wildlife Trust and National Highways announce biodiversity boost 
Monday 16 May, 2022
Norfolk Wildlife Trust and National Highways have joined forces to launch a new Network for Nature programme, with th...
2022-04-06 Working together to protect ou Working together to protect our beach nesting birds this summer
Wednesday 06 April, 2022
Spring is in the air and Norfolk Wildlife Trust is joining with nature conservationists from across Norfolk, includin...
2022-04-06 £60,000 boost for Norwich natu £60,000 boost for Norwich nature reserve appeal
Wednesday 06 April, 2022
The Geoffrey Watling Charity donation brings Norfolk Wildlife Trust's new nature reserve vision a step closer to ...
2022-03-17 Disadvantaged communities acro Disadvantaged communities across the UK empowered to let nature flourish thanks to £5m National Lottery funding
Thursday 17 March, 2022
Nextdoor Nature - a new natural legacy to mark the Queen's Jubilee - will help nature flourish in Norwich.  ...
2022-03-02 Banned pesticide gets green li Banned pesticide gets green light
Wednesday 02 March, 2022
Tuesday 1 March saw the green light given to use a banned pesticide, contradicting Government promises to protec...
2022-02-16 NWT launch appeal for flagship NWT launch appeal for flagship nature reserve for Norwich
Wednesday 16 February, 2022
Norfolk Wildlife Trust seeks to raise £600,000, in partnership with Aviva, to protect rare wildlife and co...
2022-02-01 Norfolk waste company's partne Norfolk waste company's partnership with NWT helps customers 'Clean up to green up'
Tuesday 01 February, 2022
PSH Environmental Ltd partners with Norfolk Wildlife Trust to launch new £45,000 conservati...
2022-01-28 Help us to map nature's recove Help us to map nature's recovery
Friday 28 January, 2022
Do you know of some unloved places? Do you want special places to have more protection? Tell us about them!We want yo...
2022-01-10 The Fens to benefit from Gover The Fens to benefit from Government funding to kickstart the restoration of peatlands
Monday 10 January, 2022
The Fens East Peat Partnership (FEPP), including Norfolk Wildlife Trust, are excited to announce they have been award...
2021-12-06 Maternity colony for rare bats Maternity colony for rare bats continues to be under threat from proposed road route
Monday 06 December, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is continuing to object to the proposed “Norwich Western Link” (NWL) and call...
2021-12-02 Birds, bees, and butterflies s Birds, bees, and butterflies suffer as Brexit farming promises broken today
Thursday 02 December, 2021
Rescue rivers, wildlife and climate faster, say three largest nature charitiesToday the Governmen...