Torrington students survey North Devon shores

Joseph Bulmer

GREAT Torrington School students and others in the South West are helping to survey the local coastline as part of a nationwide climate change study.

The Shore Thing project is being run partly by the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, with the help of marine laboratories and field study centres and schools stretching from Cornwall to the Highlands, who will all be contributing to its database.

The students have been recording seaweeds and animals in measured areas of shoreline,from high to low tide, looking for a number of marine species that scientists have selected as being indicators of climate change. Data collected will be made available to the wider community, including scientists and decision makers, via the internet.

Year 11 pupils studying for their Biology GCSE went to survey the shore at Abbotsham with teachers Dr Marian Phillips and William Dorrell, marine expert Dr Pip Jollands from Hallsannery centre and Fiona Crouch, who organises the Shore Thing project nationally.

They enjoyed seeing how varied life was on the shore, particularly in the local Biosphere Reserve and had the opportunity to learn about species surveying techniques and to use an underwater camera in the rock-pools.

This is the fifth annual survey Great Torrington School has taken part in. Already it is showing an increase in top shell numbers as they extend their range northwards as sea temperatures rise. More information at