A huge thank you to everyone who took part in Blue Seas Protection’s
1st Citizen Science ‘SharkLab LIVE! Beach Bioblitz’!
Over this exciting 6 day Survey (19th – 24th April 2022), we had a total of 34 extraordinary Citizen Scientists who walked, ran, splashed and mapped the entire length of Sandown Bay: from Luccombe Point to Yaverland’s Culver Cliffs (a total of 78 Sections); no stone or beach was left un-trodden in our search to collect and scientifically record a total of 633 Eggcases!
Every single eggcase has been added to Blue Seas Protection’s Database and the National/International Sharks Trust Database, so your classifications will be part of growing Scientific Research into Shark/Skate populations surrounding the Isle of Wight, UK and Globally.
Please find below a summary of the 6 Survey Days, along with Daily Eggcase Totals. Also below we have all Surveys Results Charts and Graphs in comparison with the previous Monthly Shark Eggcase Surveys to date (from Jan to Apr 2022).
Total Survey Results – 633 Shark Eggcases Found!
Over the 6 survey days our 34 intrepid Citizen Scientists managed to find and classify 6 different species of Shark Eggcases:
- 1 Blonde Skate
- 2 Small-eyed Skates
- 12 Undulate Skates
- 36 Small Spotted Catsharks
- 90 Spotted Skates
- 492 Thornback Skates
Total 633 Shark Eggcase!
Survey Day 1 – Total: 98 Shark Eggcases Found
Tue 19th April 2022 Shanklin Chine to SE Beach Cafe
Overview: Today, was our first Survey Day for April 2022 and we were greeted with a lovely sunny day, with a light breeze and hazy sky… these beautiful conditions did not change throughout the survey day.
Starting at Skanklin Chine we crept along Shanklin seafront keeping our eyes peeled for anything unusual… and Shanklin did not disappoint…
…within 20mins we had found our first shark eggcases along with spider crab shells, whelk eggs by the handfuls, a piece of squishy Sea Sponge and even some hair like strands Squid Eggs!
As we continued down towards the South East Beach Café, we continued to find crab shells and whelk eggs outnumbering our shark eggcases 2 to 1.
Half way through the survey we were very pleased to welcome 2 Scientific Researchers from the Project Seagrass, from Swansea University, who had excitedly joined us to see if we could find any seagrass as we surveyed along Shanklin. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any seagrass, as the tide had turned and was impatiently swallowing up the sandy shore and hiding any trace of seagrass, but we all kept a look out just in case.
In 2 of the sections (Sections 17 + 18) the tide was coming in fast, reaching out it’s foamy fingers trying to catch the 11 brave Citizen Scientists who were dashing across the narrow path of wet sand, between the snapping splashing sea and the high concrete seawall.
Luckily all of our intrepid party managed to get up to the safety of the steps, with only a few wet feet and cheers all round, we continued surveying on our egg-xtremely egg-xciting adventure!
Compared to the March Monthly Survey we only found 98 eggcases, this is a decline from the 138 eggcases found last month, this may be due to a slowing in Skate hatching or a change in tidal currents, that are no longer pushing eggcases to shore in those areas.
However, apart from 2 sections (that at high tide are always submerged),
we did find eggcases in every section we surveyed, with a considerable increase in the amount of eggcase found in sections that had a stone/concrete groynes, this observation has been proven true in subsequent surveys.
Today we found:
- 1 Small Spotted Catshark Eggcase
- 3 Undulate Skate Eggcases
- 32 Spotted Skate Eggcases
- 62 Thornback Skate Eggcases
Total of: 98 Eggcases!
The chart above shows that on average, for every 2 Thornback Skates found there is 1 Spotted Skate also found, however on a section by section base that is not what was happening.
The sections closest to the Shanklin Chine actually had 3x more Spotted Skate Eggcases than Thornbacks whereas further down the beach we found more Thornbacks. These are different results from last month’s which showed that there were slightly more Spotted Skate than Thornbacks and all the eggcase where only found in 5 sections rather than being spread across the entire area.
Survey Day 2 – Total Shark Eggcases Found
Wed 20th April 2022 Small Hope Beach to Fins Beach Cafe
Overview: Glorious sunshine greeted us today, with an immaculate blue sky and soft sea waves, it looked like a picture- book sea side view… but we hadn’t come here to take in the scenery, we had a hands on Citizen Science job to do!
At Small Hope Beach we were confronted with a vast expanse of glistening sand, the tide had gone out so far that the sea was just a small blue shimmering sliver, set between the land and the bright pale blue sky. Even with all of us the area was so big that we had to do it in section, first we surveyed the strand line, at the very tip top of the beach (right next to the promenade). Then we surveyed a shingly high tide line full of stones and small pebbles; next was the vast middle of the beach where we spread out around 5f apart and slowly marched down the beach in perfect synchrony. It was then that we spied the slipway at the entrance of Small Hope Beach it was covered with seaweed and woody gunk washed in by the high tide, the perfect place to find eggcases.
Finally, we surveyed the tide line and as we walked in a line beside the gently lapping sea, we discovered the carcass of a beautiful Adult Small Spotted Catshark left behind be the receding tide. How that Catshark died is unknown, perhaps it had been caught by a fisherman and thrown up onto the sand as punishment for stealing their catch…
…or it could just have been swimming in the shallow water and as the tide had gone out the Catshark was stranded, whatever happened, it was decided by the Citizen Scientists to bury the Catshark in the sand so that no animals could eat it before the tide came in.
We started surveying day at Small Hope Beach, an hour latter we emerged with 126 eggcases in tow, a little dazed we then started the long journey towards Tradewinds Café; at the end of that journey we had collected a grand total of 1 eggcase.
We then continued to survey past Tradewinds Café all the way to Fin’s Beach Café and only found 2 more eggcase, making Small Hope Beach the best location to find Skate Eggcase in the entire Sandown Bay.
Today we found:
- 1 Undulate Skate Eggcase
- 7 Small Spotted Catshark Eggcases
- 14 Spotted Skate Eggcases
- 107 Thornback Skate Eggcases
Total of: 129 Eggcases!
This month there is a big difference in the Skate ratios, incredibly more than ¾ of all eggcases found this month were Thornback Skates; this is more than last month – as although we found a total of 302 eggcases in the same area…
…only 63 eggcase were found on Small Hope Beach and out of that only 32 were Thornbacks (26 Spotted + 5 Catsharks).