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Anemones of a different sort


Spring flowering Anemones; fleeting but beautiful.

We are all familiar with the genus of Anemone but what about its counterpart Actinia equine.

This is in fact an animal namely the beadlet sea anemone.

Now some of you will be wondering has she had a knock on the head? Well no I am one of those rare creatures [apparently] who did botany and zoology at uni.

My youngest girl Victoria is sort of following in my footsteps as she is studying Wildlife Conservation at uni and she has chosen to look at the effect seaweeds have on Actinia distribution. She had a year’s placement in South Wales and she had to do some sea shore experiences there. This peaked her interest as she noticed fewer anemones where there was lots of seaweed. But was this localised or a general phenomena?

Early October we had a recognisance trip up to Sunderland where I was raised. The beach was my playground and we were on the beach at least 4 times a week. Victoria was introduced to this area at 2 weeks old. This photo was taken a week before her 22nd birthday.

Parson’s Rocks, Seaburn is a rare rock formation of Cannonball limestone looking South towards Roker Pier.

The weekend of the November floods we were in the North East; Sunderland. We had 2 very wet days at Whitburn Steele, Whitburn and Parson’s Rocks, Seaburn. After that we went to Burniston Bay , North of Scarborough and Filey Brigg at Filey.

This is a typical cluster of beadlet anemones ‘closed’ at low tide. There are 4 large ones and a small one as well as 4 whelks and barnacles.

Then Tuesday and Wednesday this week we were at Flamborough, North and South landing. We brought her back from uni on Monday.

The outcome?
Apart from being very cold yesterday she has collected 6 comprehensive data sets over the 6 sessions. My role was in support, holding tape measures and quadrats so she could do the counting. I was able to help id the various seaweeds we found. Some ‘new’ to me as she had to use the scientific names throughout. As a child I just knew them by they local common names.

This photo was taken at Flamborough yesterday; I am the one in blue waterproofs. The air temp hovered around zero all day but it was dry and that makes the 4hrs in the outdoors much more comfortable.

The real hard work starts now as she does data analyisis, statistics and a range of graphs; before drawing conclusions.

Thinking back to my childhood, growing up just 500m from the beach, I knew more rock pool creatures than plants. Back then if any one had said anemone I would not have thought plants. Funny how life turns out.

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Nice blog interesting and totally different don't think I could have managed zero on the beach anymore.

19 Dec, 2019


This is very interesting. I would have loved being with you on that beach :) Good luck to Victoria with her studies. It's nice that she is doing what she's interested in.

It must have been lovely growing up by the sea, especially with your interest. We weren't very far either and I had relations in Mumbles where we'd go often. I would always be looking around in the rock pools while everyone else were 'enjoying' themselves :D

I did Botany and Zoology to A level and was accepted in two unis to do marine biology, but didn't go. (I won't describe the reasons why ...)

I once had a marine aquarium full of rock pool creatures and sea weeds I'd collected on the beaches on Gower. Not that I would do that now but it was different in those days.
One interesting creature I found was a tiny snail that swam through the water. I think it was called a sea butterfly.
I remember trying to get an anemone off the rocks to put in my aquarium. It was very difficult. I used to feed them with chopped up earthworms :(

I must shut up now !

19 Dec, 2019


This was very interesting indeed. Hywel's comments endorsed your enthusiasm for, and fascination with, the life of the seashore.
I hope that your daughter continues to enjoy her research as she visits such lovely places.

19 Dec, 2019


We were both properly wrapped up the only bit that was really cold was my nose Brian :o) Hands felt warmer in the water which was 4.8c. We were very active walking across the rocks but the extra layers were a bit restrictive. I felt like the Michelin woman haha!

Thank for you recollections Hywel, anemones are interesting creatures and I bet you had trouble removing it. They are able to creep along the surface to either fight with others or find a better feeding spot. the worms were a good feed for them. Yes sea butterflies are indeed a free swimming snail. Toria said they found them at Fort Dale Millford Haven when they were there in September. Listening to Victoria I have learnt quite a lot about them too. I had a reasonable knowledge of them but hers is much more in depth.

Thanks Wildrose, I do love nature in all its forms.

As an aside Toria watched a bittern at North Cave wetlands today. The one time I didn't go: typical!

19 Dec, 2019


Must have been a really interesting experience! All my best wishes for your daughter's presentation of the results later!

Best wishes also for a Happy Christmas & New Year 2020 for you & your family. :)

19 Dec, 2019


Fascinating the various forms of life. Enjoyed reading through and all the pics.

19 Dec, 2019


A very interesting Blog Sbg I must admit its not something most of us think about ,we've only ever been interested in eating the Samphire ,crabs ,muscles ,cockles etc ..Good luck to your daughter I'm sure she'll do well ....

20 Dec, 2019


Lovely blog, Eileen. It was really interesting and I have learned something new also. Nice to see a pic of you and your daughter, especially doing something you both enjoy greatly! I don’t think I’ve bet been on any beach, even in the UK when it’s been so cold. However, I think if your in the right gear and doing something of great interest it must be quite inviting.

21 Dec, 2019


the beaches in winter are fantastic. we often go to Spurn point at new year. certainly blows the cobwebs away.

wrapped up properly you cant beat them.
in my youth I used to do a Boxing day dip for charity at Seaburn. In the summer we used to swim the length of Roker pier [a mile]. A boat dropped us off then stayed with us in case any one got into difficulty. Don't reckon I could do it now though. The funds usually went to the RNLI.

I am glad you have enjoyed my blog and got a glimpse into some of my family.

21 Dec, 2019


It is such a pleasure to see members of a family sharing such a keen interest in the same thing! About ten years ago, I believe, the complex mechanisms (biochemical, physiological, behavioral etc...) involved in a barnacle gluing itself to a surface with a water interface was worked out. Of course the hope is to apply this new found knowledge towards the development of a new class of bio adhesives. My dentist, who informed me of this breakthrough, is particularly interested in the development of a adhesive filling material which can be used in the wet oral environs in which dentists work. I am looking forward to it also since it seems that my dentist is always trying to get herself into the Guinness World Book Of Records when it comes to the number of cotton rolls one can pack into a patient’s mouth to keep the area dry enough to place a filling. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years To All!

22 Dec, 2019


We have a group here called The Polar Bear Club that does their annual New Year's Day plunge into the Atlantic Ocean off of Coney Island Beach. You can watch them on YouTube. I admire their courage and you are very brave to withstand the searing cold. Is it 'mind over matter'? How do you not pass out with hypothermia?

22 Dec, 2019


yes Loosestrife, scientists have been working on 'Bissel glue' that's the chemicals that hold mussels to rocks and is similar to that of barnacles. for some time. The adhesive would be useful in maritime industries as well as in dentistry etc. My dentist also likes padding with cotton pads too !

Mind over matter perhaps but actually the air temperature is colder than the water here. typically the air is about -2 to 4centigrade where as the sea is about 6-9c so it is warmer in the water. you don't stay in for long and the hot chocolate drinks given to you when you got out into warm towels is a wonderful memory. I was also quite a chubby child so I had extra layers of 'blubber' as my brothers enjoyed pointing out!

22 Dec, 2019


I would become a human popsicle in no time 😂

22 Dec, 2019

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