Coastwise member Rob Durrant is a North Devon native. Although he had to go away for education and work, he returned, and has made a deep study of marine creatures in the area his new mission in life.
Whether on the shore at low tide, or in his sea-water aquarium, Rob has spent a huge amount of time studying behaviour and finding and recording species on iRecord, whose records are verified and transferred to the National Biodiversity Network database.
He gave other Coastwise members the benefit of his work on Cnidaria (invertebrates e.g. anenomes with stinging cells called nematocysts), and Crustaceans (which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles).
Rob covered a huge range of seashore animals, with lovely pictures. He covered tunicates (sea squirts), starfish, sea urchins, sea slugs and anenomes, sometimes showing not just the adults, but also the reproductive and juvenile phases. Rob described the difficulties of identifying the huge range of animals such as anenomes, and then convincing data verifiers who sometimes themselves are no more expert in a species.
In particular, Rob battled for recognition of a new species, Aiptasiogeton pellucidus (var comatus) that he identified and finally had verified with international help.
Rob's work with his aquarium has helped him to record behaviour which is rarely seen - reproduction methods, and nocturnal activity, both of which are very difficult to study in nature.
The overall message is that such is the diversity of marine life, amateurs can still contribute to scientific development and recording, and Coastwise members take an active role in this part of the world.
Pictured on the right (courtesy Rob Durrant) from the top are Star Ascidians (Schlosseri botrylus), the Sea Slug (Doto onustra), and the report on the newly-identified Fairy Anenome (Aiptasiogeton pellucidus var comatus).