The South West Marine Ecosystems 2019 Annual Report has just been published and can be accessed on the SWME website.
This latest annual report highlights the amazing diversity of our regional marine environment and contains chapters on everything from plankton through seashore and seabed to cetaceans, seals and seabirds. Putting the South West’s incredible marine biodiversity into context there are also sections on Fisheries, Marine Protected Areas, Marine Plastics and development, Planning and Management. The SWME reports provide a unique opportunity to compare annual differences in marine life, often reflecting weather conditions, but also useful in tracking larger climatic changes as they progress. The continuing decline of the plankton-feeding basking shark remains a concern.
Above: The small flagellate Pseudochattonella was identified for the first time in 2019 from samples at the L4 monitoring site (situated 13km SSW of Plymouth).
Key to understanding how the marine wildlife is fairing from year to year is the physical context the waters it inhabits: PML provided a summary of the background oceanographic conditions from the Western Channel Observatory, as well as observations on how plankton, the base of most marine food chains, has waxed and waned over the 12 month period of the report.
The report contains a wealth of information, accompanied by graphics and photographs making it a fascinating and very accessible read for anyone interested in our local marine environment.