Searching for Marine Scientists....with a microscope

Coastwise North Devon is hoping to recruit more local scientists with an interest in studying the marine life of the North Devon shore.  A free taster event is on offer on Saturday 21st April.  A Microscope and Seaweed Identification workshop (picture of previous event courtesy of Rob Jutsum) will be held at Mortehoe Village Hall, run by Coastwise for members and potential recruits.

Fellow enthusiasts are invited to drop in to the Microscope Workshop, between 10.30 am  & 3.30 pm  on 21st April, to join in the day’s activities or for an exploratory chat about North Devon’s exceptional marine environment.  For more information email

Paula Ferris of Coastwise explains “We hope to have about 10 microscopes available for use, including three that were bought with AONB funding last year.  They were donated by Coastwise last year to 3 local interpretation centres to be borrowed back for occasions such as this.  Some will be linked to computers to display live images supplemented by video clips and photographs.  Live plants and animals will be collected prior to the workshop and refreshed during the day with visits to the shore at the midday low tide.
We regularly meet on Thursdays in the winter, and in the summer we visit the shore whenever the tides are best to learn about marine life, and share what we learn with others.  By trialling a weekend event we hope to extend our appeal to those who have weekday commitments but are interested in making a contribution to the marine environment.  We know our shores are rich in life, but to find out just how rich we need more experts and a little microscopy, hence the workshop.”

Since North Devon lost marine officer support for the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area several years ago, Coastwise has done much to fill the gap, with an education and monitoring programme and public rock-pooling programme which starts this year at Croyde on 10th April. 

When Cornwall Wildlife Trust recently hosted a conference for the south west’s eight VMCAs, Coastwise members attended on behalf of North Devon.  Paula says “We were inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and supportive interest of the other regions to take this new recruitment initiative and hope we can develop it to deliver some really useful data about the wonderful wildlife of our shores.”

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