We spent some time exploring the foreshore area at low tide with a volunteer marine biologist to assist with identification. The picture shows Carboniferous resistant mineralised sandstone ridges lying above the waterline.
Hermit crabs, probably (Pagurus bernhardus) were abundant. The one below was inside a periwinkle shell, others were in larger Dogwhelk shells. The Dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus) likes to hide in tight groups deep in crevices. They are common on rocky shores.
Sea Lettuce (Ulva latuca) easily found looks like lettuce and is edible.
Corallina officinalis is another common alga. It formed a soft turf with silt on the lower shore.
Its structure of white calcareous segments, is shown below. It was used as a source of calcium carbonate for medicine. Toothed wrack (Fucus serratus) also in the picture covered many of the rocks.
Below is a brown seaweed called False Irish Moss (Mastocarpus stellatus) , distinguished from Irish Moss by channelling in the frond.
We spotted a tiny Amphipod and this Isopod of some kind.
Cladophora rupestris, pictured below. is a densely tufted green algae, that grows up to 20 cm in height, with dark green or bluish coloured dull fronds. Typically they branch profusely upwards from the base, in an irregular, whorled or opposite pattern. The seaweed had a rough feel.
This Chiton (Lepidochitona cinerea) or Coat of Mail Shell, clinging to a Limpet, is probably the commonest and most widespread Chiton found on British rocky shores. Both Limpet and Chiton are Molluscs and graze on micro-algae on the rocks.
Sponges can be difficult to identify. The bright red/pink one could be (Hymeniacedon sanguinea). We also found the Breadcrumb Sponge (Halichondria panicea), olive green, deep inside a crevice.
Barnacles covered the rocks providing grip for boots amongst the slippery seaweeds. On close up these are (Semibalanus balanoides). The green lichen could be Verrucaria mucosa.
After some searching in crevices Beadlet Anemones were discovered. Actinea equina is a relative of jellyfish. It has stinging cells called nematocysts which it uses to catch prey or for defence.
The group organizer found a Snakelocks Anemone possibly (Anemone sulcata), its purple tipped tentacles are barely visible. Also in the picture a Topshell (Calliostoma zizyphinum) and the tiny coiled up white- shelled (Spirorbis spirorbis).
The sunshine was bright enough to make photography difficult as this last shot of a seaweed fringed pool shows.
The Hamlyn Guide to Seashores and Shallow Seas.