Studland Bay

Digging up the seagrass at Studland

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Dear all I have just posted a video taken by the trust’s volunteer divers at Studland on Friday the 7th of September. It shows the antics of a ‘responsible’ boat owner who had dug up a large clump of seagrass at Studland as he anchored up his boat.

After filming we chatted with this person who did not care about the seagrass, seahorses or anything as long as he could anchor his boat at Studland which apparently he had done for 30 years. Judging by his seamanship skills he hadn’t learnt much in that time. The anchor chain he laid out was tens of metres long and the clump of newly dug up seagrass was 2 metres wide and 1.5 metres high and full of dislodged seagrass as can be seen by the fresh roots exposed.

Please let the marine management Organisation know your feelings after you have seen this through their website which is

Lucky seahorses at Studland

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A seahorse was found at Knoll Beach in Studland, Dorset last week by a young lad. The lucky seahorse was thought to be dead but was put into a jar and it ‘recovered’. After a short while they had the great idea to put it back in the water and it swam off happily. Great to hear to hear they are coming back. We have been diving the site for months now and slowly the temperature has risen, which is always the trigger for the seahorses to come back to shallower water.
Fantatsic news that this lucky seahorse was found by this quick thinking chap and especially as she had been run over by a bicycle before he picked her up.

Check out the National trust website to see her

E423 H.guttulatus Kevin Rideout

Kjetil Svendson does a youtube film about Studland Bay

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Have a look at Kjetil Svendson’s Youtube clip about Studland Bay and the problems there. He also shows the simple solution of what can be done such as installing environmentally friendly moorings (EFM’s).

Marine Management Organisation have offered in their last meeting to pay for and install 50 EFM moorings, so fingers crossed this will be done before the new season.

Marine Management Organisation meeting about Studland Bay

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The MMO meeting this week was really positive and thank you to everyone who voted on the MCS site, there were over 2,000 votes in the end with over 70% in favour of Studland becoming protected.
The meeting was positive despite being gate crashed by some very vocal antis to the conservation of the site but in the end everytime they spoke they just dropped themselves in it as they could not support their arguments with facts so they did us a favour.
Although it has not been confirmed it looks very positive that Studland will become a protected site; a Marine Protected Zone (MPZ). This does not mean a banning of everyone but it means that a stakeholder group will oversee the management of the bay and harmful activities will be stopped or changed to preserve the site for future generations, the seagrass and most importantly the seahorses.
The meeting was very well attended and the overall opinion was that Studland is too important a site not to be protected and if Studland does not recieve protection then it would make a mockery of the whole protected species and zones policy.

This is only step one of the process but a very positive step, we are hoping that there will be a second meeting in January and it will be strictly restricted to invited guests only;  the anti lobby from Studland have been asked to put forward a representative to voice their views.

Here at the trust we feel it is vital that there is local involvement of this site and that we will happily work together to ensure the future of this amazing but under pressure site.

Thank you to one and all for your overwhelming support and dont forget keep voting your votes will and have made a difference.

Your Seas Your Voice vote for Studland before the 31st of October

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The yours Sea Your Voice vote run by the marine Conservation Society is coming to an end for England on the 31st of october, so say have your say now. Get your family and friends to vote for your favourite site and don’t forget that Studland bay is one of the most important sites for Spiny Seahorses here in the Uk if not Eurpoe and without protection will be destoyed forever.

Go onto the link below and have your say

Seahorse fry (baby) at Studland

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On Saturday the 28th of August Seahorse Trust divers found the smallest Seahorse on the site since the survey started.

The female Spiny Seahorse who is only about 2 months old would have been born in June of this year and it is fantastic news.  Over the years of the survey we have found adults, including pregnant males and juveniles and we knew they were giving birth on the site but we always wondered where the babies (fry ) went to and know we know they remain on the site but are very difficult to see. Despite the awful weather on Saturday (1 metre visibilty) this pretty ,small Seahorse was seen clinging to a piece of seagrass. The trust researchers managed to take measurements and some photographs before it set sail deeper into the seagrass bed,

At this age the fry will be looking for the best areas to feed and set up their territories and subject to no other Seahorse being in residence they will set up home and hold this territory until the first of the storms come in the Autumn when they move into deeper safer waters.

Out of the 3 to 5 hundred fry born to each male every month less than 2 or 3 will survive to adulthood due to predation by all sorts of fish species. Seahorse fry are a nice bite sized piece of food for them. In turn Seahorse fry eat a staggering 3,000 plus pieces of plankton every 24 hours.

resized E392b H_guttulatus NGM

The 4cm fry being measured on the seagrass.

resized E392i H_guttulatus NGM

Countryfile at Studland Bay

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On Tuesday the 10th of August Countryfile came down to our study site at Studland to film the work we are doing with tagging the Seahorses. Trust director Neil trained Ellie prior to the dive to be able to hold the Seahorses without stressing them so that he could photograph the profile pictures of each of the Seahorses so that it could be added to the database. The data being gathered about this unique colony of Seahorses is allowing the trust to help put the information into management plans for Studland Bay in Dorset and the other Seahorses around the British Isles.

The tagging work is done under very strict conditions as part of the Trusts license and anyone wanting to work with Seahorses in the wild in England need to have a license to film (or photograph) or work with them.


Ellie holding one of the Spiny Seahorses ready to have its profile picture taken


Ellie talking to the camera explaining about the work of the trust


The film crew working in the pouring rain and wind

The Countryfile programme is to be aired on Sunday 22nd of August 2010 on BBC One.

Continuing damage to Studland seagrass

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This year is probably one of the worst for damage to the seagrass meadow at South Beach, Studland Bay in Dorset. We have noticed that the size of the mooring chain damage has increased this year with some of the holes measuring some 30 metres across. The mooring chains and blocks that hold the moorings are more exposed than every before and creating desert like conditions where very little lives.

The following pictures (copyright The Seahorse Trust) were taken on Saturday the 31st of July 2010 on site at Studland.


The pictures above show just a few of the mooring chains that are causing extensive danage on the site; these are attached to some of the moorings on the site.  The pictue of the round lump of metal is the mooring block one of these moorings is attached to.

These pictures above show the reason why environmentally friendly moorings should be put in on the site to allow boat use without damaging the environment.. This needs to be a case of urgency before the seagrass is damaged beyond repair.


There is another equally serious problem that is occuring at Studland this year and that is the  dying off of large areas of the seagrass as can be seen by the pictures below.

The following picture show the seagrass is turning white and dying in large patches.


The picture below shows how an anchor has cut through the seagrass which will be undermined by the current and tides causing long term damage to the seagrass meadow.


The third and equally damaging process on the site is the anchors that are digging up the seagrass at an alarming rate. If you can imagine having a prisitine lawn and you have 300 plus people digging holes in it, the lawn will soon be destrpyed; this is what is happening at Studland with the anchors but there is an answer to the mooring and anchor problems and that is to put in enviornmentally friendly moorings and ask boat users to use these and not drop anchors or use the exisiting damaging moorings.

Please lobby Natural England and Crown estates to put in these moorings so that we can preserve this site and the seahorses for the future.

Divers at Studland Bay in Dorset.

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We have been very busy this season diving on the study site at South Beach in Studland Bay in Dorset. With a large team of volunteers, we have now been diving several times a week  for a  few months and finding and tagging seahorses on most of the dives.

Strangely the seagrass bed has been covered with a thick layer of hair algae this year for several weeks which has led to some very strange positions for divers underwater as they have been upside down looking under the weed and finding the Seahorses.

We have a large number of dives planned for the summer and we kindly ask the boating community to look out for our dive flags which show clearly where the divers are. Earlier this season we had a few boat owners being silly with the divers in the water which without quick action by the divers could have been very dangerous indeed, possibly leading to serious injury or even death.