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Starfish Brighton Beach

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  • seawatch17
    Hi all I received a call from Southern Counties Radio at about 8.30 this morning to comment on the number of starfish on Brighton beach. Sleepily, before my
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 17, 2008
      Hi all

      I received a call from Southern Counties Radio at about 8.30 this
      morning to comment on the number of starfish on Brighton beach.
      Sleepily, before my first cup of coffee and getting our daughter
      ready for school they squeezed in my comments 2 minutes later in the
      news.

      Not really enough time to explain my thougts, (they allocated me
      about 2 minutes) they wanted a comment following what I gather
      had been a large number of listeners phoning in about the starfish
      on Brighton Beach.

      As we have friends staying with us I had not seen the piece in the
      Argus newspaper(including Environment Agencies comments that they
      felt the deaths were due to something other than the storm)
      or the deaths along the Kent coast.

      My comments were that I felt it was due to the storm, although this
      was based on what I saw at Hove Beach (Hove/Brighton border,2 days
      ago). I have seen such large numbers of starfish washed ashore after
      severe storms many times at Brighton in the last 25 years.
      Many years ago I worked at the aquarium in Brighton as Education
      Officer 1978 - 1991 and I often went down after winter storms.
      Unfortunately I no longer have these records so its all anecdotal.
      Brighton has always been a good beach for strandline debris,
      possibly due to the wave action and currents on that piece of
      coast.I live a few miles from Brighton and so still visit this
      stretch of coastline quite regularly (including work on a 2 year
      funded project about the Brighton coast including the Strandline).

      In amongst the strandline debris and dead starfish were the remains
      of other dead marine creatures such as common whelks, oyster,
      fish egg clump (possibly lumpsucker) at least one dead dogfish
      embryo in a capsule (and about 3 others that looked like they may
      have had developing embryo remains), whelk eggs which had unhatched
      eggs, the occasional fish remains. There were also animals that
      appeared to be still alive such as slipper limpet (piles) sea
      squirts and the odd sea anemone. All of these I would expect to see
      washed up after a storm on this coastline, based on previous
      occurances.

      I was surprised by the lack of scavengers taking advantage of this
      bounty. I suspect the herring gulls now prefer to dine on the
      relatively fine cuisine thrown out by the local restraunts.

      Anyone else have any accounts, anecdotal or otherwise, of such
      occurances in Sussex.

      Steve Savage
      Sea Watch Foundation Co-ordinator
      and marine educator.
    • Andy Horton
      Hello, Starfish Strandings Message Index http://glaucus.jiglu.com/+search?query=starfish+stranding&x=25&y=14 BMLSS Asterias
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 17, 2008
        Hello,

        Starfish Strandings Message Index
        http://glaucus.jiglu.com/+search?query=starfish+stranding&x=25&y=14

        BMLSS Asterias
        http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Asterias.htm

        Key words for the radio re starfish strandings as these are always coming
        up:

        1) Boom and bust cycle
        2) Normal habitat is offshore mussel beds
        3) Asterias rubens
        4) Storms Force 10 and above, otherwise gales
        http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Beaufort.htm

        4) Look for Sunstars, multiple-legged Starfish

        In the late seventies or early eighties, millions of Asterias rubens,
        invaded Brighton beach east of Marina and they were alive. They died as
        there was not enough food for this voracious "pest".


        Cheers


        Andy Horton.
        glaucus@...
        ><< ( ( ( ' >
        British Marine Life Study Society (formed 6 June 1990)
        http://www.glaucus.org.uk/
        -----------------------------------------------------------------
        Shorewatch Biological Recording
        http://www.glaucus.org.uk/watch2.htm



        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "seawatch17" <stevep.savage@...>
        To: <Glaucus@...>
        Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 9:48 AM
        Subject: [Glaucus] Starfish Brighton Beach


        Hi all

        I received a call from Southern Counties Radio at about 8.30 this
        morning to comment on the number of starfish on Brighton beach.
        Sleepily, before my first cup of coffee and getting our daughter
        ready for school they squeezed in my comments 2 minutes later in the
        news.

        Not really enough time to explain my thougts, (they allocated me
        about 2 minutes) they wanted a comment following what I gather
        had been a large number of listeners phoning in about the starfish
        on Brighton Beach.

        As we have friends staying with us I had not seen the piece in the
        Argus newspaper(including Environment Agencies comments that they
        felt the deaths were due to something other than the storm)
        or the deaths along the Kent coast.

        My comments were that I felt it was due to the storm, although this
        was based on what I saw at Hove Beach (Hove/Brighton border,2 days
        ago). I have seen such large numbers of starfish washed ashore after
        severe storms many times at Brighton in the last 25 years.
        Many years ago I worked at the aquarium in Brighton as Education
        Officer 1978 - 1991 and I often went down after winter storms.
        Unfortunately I no longer have these records so its all anecdotal.
        Brighton has always been a good beach for strandline debris,
        possibly due to the wave action and currents on that piece of
        coast.I live a few miles from Brighton and so still visit this
        stretch of coastline quite regularly (including work on a 2 year
        funded project about the Brighton coast including the Strandline).

        In amongst the strandline debris and dead starfish were the remains
        of other dead marine creatures such as common whelks, oyster,
        fish egg clump (possibly lumpsucker) at least one dead dogfish
        embryo in a capsule (and about 3 others that looked like they may
        have had developing embryo remains), whelk eggs which had unhatched
        eggs, the occasional fish remains. There were also animals that
        appeared to be still alive such as slipper limpet (piles) sea
        squirts and the odd sea anemone. All of these I would expect to see
        washed up after a storm on this coastline, based on previous
        occurances.

        I was surprised by the lack of scavengers taking advantage of this
        bounty. I suspect the herring gulls now prefer to dine on the
        relatively fine cuisine thrown out by the local restraunts.

        Anyone else have any accounts, anecdotal or otherwise, of such
        occurances in Sussex.

        Steve Savage
        Sea Watch Foundation Co-ordinator
        and marine educator.
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