Introducing the project
The team has joined up with Seasearch to monitor fireworks anemones (Pachycerianthus multiplicatus) in the stunning lochs near the Isle of Skye and Kyle. Project Manager Vanessa Charles explains the goals of this project.
“The Fireworks Anemone Monitoring Project was set up in Loch Alsh in 2019. The site is part of a Marine Protected Area where there had already been some detailed survey work by the Seasearch recording scheme. These sheltered inland sea lochs contain all kinds of unusual species that would normally live in much deeper waters, so it’s a great opportunity to study them at recreational depths.
The anemone is pretty spectacular when you see it in a dark, muddy sea loch. It can be as big as a football and, once you find one, you’ll often see that the sea bed is covered with them. They’re not a common species in UK waters, in fact they are internationally scarce, and this makes them a great candidate for long-term study.
The project has only recently got up and running, but we already have some individual anemones that are being monitored. It took a bit effort to establish a way of locating them consistently; it’s amazing how hard it is to find a specific anemone in a dark, murky loch! As well as doing regular temperature and visibility checks, we’ve been measuring the anemones and noting their behaviour.
There’s currently a small team of divers involved, but Loch Alsh, and its neighbour Loch Duich, have massive potential for further research and we’re looking forward to expanding the project in the future.”
Eilean Tioram basin
A small semi-tidal basin formed in Loch Alsh between Eilean Tioram and the shore at Ardelve. There are cobbles that slope down to a sea bed of fine mud with a deepest recorded chart depth 32 metres.
Fishing boat wreck
The wreck of a small fishing vessel about fifty metres south of the old, turf roofed cottage at Ardelve. The fireworks Anemone bed starts around this wreck at about 15 metres depth
Small fireworks anemone
Large fireworks anemone
Pair of fireworks anemone
Single white anemone
Team divers contribute marine survey data to the Seasearch project.