7 06 2012

It’s that time of year again!  Time for our quarterly survey of the exposed rocky shore at Manorbier .

Now, Manorbier isn’t just a confusingly pronounced part of Pembrokeshire’s coastline (don’t try and say it with a French accent) but a wonderful shoreline showcasing fascinating geology and biological zonation of organisms.


A panorama of the rocky shore at Manorbier.

So what do we survey?  We look at the changes in abundance and occurrence of organisms (animals, algae and lichens) as we move from the lower shore to the upper.  This information is recorded and filed with a view to monitoring any changes over time at the site.  The education staff at Orielton always go down during spring tides which allow us to survey the entire shore – from kelp beds to splash zone – and this quarter it was Sarah, Martha and myself (Cameron).

What we found this quarter wasn’t particularly surprising as Manorbier conforms to the very general model of zonation of biota on a rocky shore – more animals at the bottom than the top, algae more predominant in mid/lower-shore and lichens dominating the further up you go.  This extremely generalised statement is dealt with in more detail, as well as many other aspects of rocky shore ecology, on the Field Studies Council’s rocky shore resource.  You can study it here:

Aside from the surveying we also explored the area; turning over rocks and looking in nooks and crannies.  To keep you all entertained then have a look at some of our photos:


Five-bearded rockling (Ciliata mustela)


Snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis)


A Brittlestar – possibly Common Brittlestar (Ophiothrix fragilis)


Common limpet (Patella vulgata) with scars on the rock showing past activity.

These photographs, plus others, will eventually be uploaded to our Facebook page ( so ‘Like’ us and keep checking for updates!