About

PROJECT STAFF

mark-parryProject Manager – Plymouth – National Marine Aquarium

Mark Parry. Mark spent his early career contributing towards the development of surfing as a sport in the South West of the U.K. As a keen waterman, he returned to Plymouth University studying a post-grad in Applied Marine Science. Completing his M.Sc., Mark spent 7 years fulfilling environmental surveys for offshore exploration and geo-technical service providers worldwide. Wanting to contribute towards the environmental protection of habitats around the community where he grew up, Mark started working for the National Marine Aquarium in May 2014. Mark has a commercial scuba qualification and is a keen scientific diver.

Rachael ColeProject Officer – Torbay – Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust & Living Coasts

Rachel Cole. Rachel studied BSc. Marine Biology at Plymouth University and specialised in the ecology of seagrass habitats. She completed the HSE commercial Part 4 SCUBA qualification to become a scientific diver. Previously working as Manager of a marine education and diving business in Dartmouth with TV’s Monty Halls, Rachel is an advanced commercial skipper with local knowledge of her home patch, Torbay. She is keen to invite volunteers from the diving, kayaking and sailing communities to contact her to find out more, or get involved in this exciting project.

Jess MeadProject Officer – Weymouth – SEALIFE Adventure Park

Jess Mead. Jess studied marine biology at the University of Southampton and after graduating has volunteered on marine conservation and diving projects across the world. For the last year she has been working with Dorset Wildlife Trust and is very happy to be staying in lovely Dorset for longer. If you have any questions about the project or are a diver, kayaker or sailor in the Weymouth area and you’re interested in volunteering please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Our Story

Seagrass meadow, with snakelocks anemones ( Anemonia viridis) growing on eelgrass (Zostera marina). Studland Bay, Dorset, England, UK. British Isles. English Channel.

Seagrass meadow, with snakelocks anemones ( Anemonia viridis) growing on eelgrass (Zostera marina). Studland Bay, Dorset, England, UK. British Isles. English Channel.

Community Seagrass Initiative

The Community Seagrass Initiative is a citizen science project aiming to raise awareness of seagrass habitats in the South West of England.

CSI is a pioneering research project led by the National Marine Aquarium. Covering the 191 mile stretch of coastline from Looe in Cornwall, to Weymouth in Dorset, it will look to find out more about native seagrass and seahorses and help to conserve their fragile eco-systems. The aim is to engage coastal communities with their special marine habitats to raise awareness and promote conservation. Everyone from school children, sailors, canoeists, divers, kayakers and even internet users can get involved and help collect vital data that will aid the mapping and surveying of seagrass meadows along the south coast.

Seagrass is one of the world’s only marine flowering plants, which creates large meadows in shallow waters on sandy seabed. There are many seagrass meadows, or beds, around the South West of the UK and West coast of Scotland. The meadows act like an underwater rainforest, providing shelter for all sorts of marine species, on an otherwise featureless seabed. Seagrass meadows are home to some of the most charismatic species in the UK such as seahorses and cuttlefish, and act as a nursery ground for commercial fish species. They can also improve water quality and stabilise sediments, reducing coastal erosion.


Project Partners

Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery has provided a grant of £474,000 for the CSI project. The CSI project is primarily about awareness and participation in conservation from local communities.
Heritage Lottery Fund, fund various projects from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks we love, from precious memories to rare wildlife. The Heritage Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. The Heritage Lottery Fund contributed nearly half a million pounds to the partnered project.

National Marine Aquarium (NMA)

National Marine Aquarium (NMA)

The NMA is the lead partner in the CSI project and provides working space for the project manager.
The National Marine Aquarium was established in 1991 under the direction and guidance of the Marine Biological Association (MBA). Established in 1884, the MBA historically developed marine husbandry concepts and was the second place in the world to exhibit an aquarium to the public. With the development of modern aquarium technology through the 1970’s and 80’s it was evident that the small space provided at the MBA building in Plymouth was inadequate to meet people’s expectations of a modern aquarium. In order for Plymouth to remain a centre for public engagement in marine issues the MBA Council decided to support the establishment of the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) as a centre for people to learn about and engage with the marine environment.
Public engagement, whether through Discovery and Learning programmes, visitor engagement, membership programme, campaigns or delivery of events is at the heart of everything that the organisation does, reflected in the organisation’s mission to ‘Drive marine conservation through engagement.’

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust (TACT)

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust (TCCT)

A local, independent charity that safeguards over 1750 beautiful acres of green space across Torbay. The Trust exists because Torbay has an outstanding natural environment and heritage that needs special care and attention. The trust are the stewards of the most important natural places in the Torbay – including Berry Head Nature Reserve, Cockington Country Park, Occombe Farm and various woodlands, cliffs and coastal walks.
TCCT is a key driver to marine conservation in Torbay and supports the project though providing expertise and advice. The Trust also provides working space for Rachel Cole at Occombe Farm.

Living Coasts

Living Coasts

Living Coasts is part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust which is a charity dedicated to education, contributing scientific understanding and conservation of our global wildlife heritage and inspiring in people a respect for animals, plants and the environment. The support of the Community Seagrass Initiative allows WWCT to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity locally and nationally by educating and engaging the public on conservation of the natural marine habitats. This also enables us to strive towards our vision a world rich in wildlife and wild places. We’re happy to be part of a great local project.

SEALIFE – Weymouth

SEALIFE – Weymouth

Here at Weymouth SEALIFE Adventure Park we are involved in many different conservation projects including our Captive Breeding Programmes and the work funded by the SEALIFE Trust. We jumped at the chance to be a project partner for the Community Seagrass Initiative as we were really keen to help conserve a marine habitat right on our doorstep. Weymouth SEALIFE is home to a whole range of animals that live in seagrass so it’s nice to do our bit to help protect the habitat that these amazing and charismatic species call their home in the wild. Working together with other organisations means that projects like this can be achieved on such a large scale, so hopefully we can see more projects like this in the future.

Fiona Smith- Curator at Weymouth SEALIFE Adventure Park.

University of Plymouth Marine Institute

University of Plymouth Marine Institute

Representing 3000 staff, researchers and students, Plymouth University Marine Institute is the first and largest such institute in the UK. We provide the external portal to our extensive pool of world-leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling us to understand the relationship between the way we live, the seas that surround us and the development of sustainable policy solutions. We are integrating our multidisciplinary expertise in marine and maritime research, education and innovation to train new scientists, engineers, policy-makers, artists, technicians and business managers of the future. The staff represented by the Marine Institute are housed within four University faculties (Science and Environment, Arts and Humanities, Business, Health and Human Sciences) and form the broadest portfolio of marine expertise within a single institute in Europe.

Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum

Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum

The Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum (TECF) is the estuary management partnership that brings together stakeholders to promote the delivery of integrated management for the Tamar estuaries and nearby coastal areas in order to ensure long term sustainability. The roots of TECF lie in the long history of liaison and consultation between the Ministry of Defence (MoD), local authorities and responsible bodies over the management of their common water body.

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South Devon AONB Estuaries Partnership

The South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was designated by government in 1960. It covers 60 glorious miles of coastline, estuaries and countryside between Plymouth and Torbay. The South Devon AONB Team works with a wide range of organisations and communities to actively conserve and enhance the special qualities of South Devon. As well as being part of the AONB, the Salcombe and Kingsbridge estuary is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a local nature reserve and lies within the South Devon Heritage Coast. Estuary managers support the work of the CSI in Salcombe and include the volunteers in other events and projects within the area.