Some of Dorset’s coastal creatures play an important national role in our coastal biodiversity, explains Hazel Ormrod from Dorset Wildlife Trust
In Dorset we are lucky to have the most astonishing marine wildlife, from secretive seahorses and delightful dolphins to colour-changing cuttlefish and rock-licking limpets. The theme of this year’s Marine Weeks, from 23rd July to 7th August, is marine superheroes. Wildlife Trusts across the UK are shining a light on the extraordinary sea creatures and plants which are helping to fight climate change and water pollution, or have amazing superpowers. Dorset is a national hotspot for many sea creatures which have evolved special talents to help them survive. One such creature is the enigmatic seahorse, unique because it is the father that gives birth in a complete gender role reversal. In addition, seahorses have incredible camouflage skills and the ability to move each eye independently.
Another common sight in Dorset waters is the cuttlefish, whose greatest superpower is the ability to become practically invisible by instantly changing its colour and skin texture to blend in perfectly with its background.
Dorset’s marine events
To celebrate Marine Weeks, Dorset Wildlife Trust has planned a series of special events to get families and individuals involved in exploring the seashore and wider marine environment, to discover some of the bounty that these habitats have to offer.
At Kimmeridge Bay, there will be the opportunity to join a dolphin watching session on the cliff-top look-out, explore underwater marine life on the snorkel trail or take part in eco-friendly crabbing and rockpooling activities led by our expert wardens.
At the Wild Seas Centre, at Kimmeridge, a state-of-the-art underwater camera will broadcast live footage to a screen inside the centre showing Kimmeridge Bay beneath the waves. All without getting wet!
The centre staff will be getting the microscopes out on Plankton Day, when visitors can discover the amazing diversity of plankton found in water samples collected from Kimmeridge Bay and also learn about the vital role that these miniature organisms play in our oceans.
Over at Chesil Beach, there’s the chance to join the Strandline Detectives walk, to hunt for wildlife treasure washed in from the sea and to find out what lives in the deeper water. Or you can take a trip on the glass-bottomed Fleet Explorer boat, which makes regular trips around part of the spectacular Fleet Lagoon, to explore its incredible underwater wildlife.
To find out dates, details and costs of all the events in Dorset (and not just for Marine Weeks), go to dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/events.