Brighton Marina

Life in a Temperate Marina: Brighton Marina, UK

Short-snouted Seahorse holding on to a poor little Snake Pipefish
Short-snouted Seahorse holding on to a poor little Snake Pipefish

In March 1972 Brighton Corporation (now Brighton & Hove City Council) bought the foreshore at Black Rock (a Special Site of Scientific Interest) from the Crown Estate Commissioners and leased the land to the Brighton Marina Company for 125 years.

Construction of the marina began and was completed in 1978 being officially opened by the Queen on 31st May 1972. The Marina covers 51.4 hectares and consists of inner and out harbour developments which, since its completion, have undergone considerable further development; development continues. As part of Brighton & Hove the Marina falls into the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere (area).

A number of studies on the marine life present have yielded a substantial range of species making it clear that marinas can be significant oases for life providing substrates, food and shelter for diverse organisms. The sheltered nature of the site mean that several fish use it as a nursery. One result of the discovery of the Marina’s rich biodiversity was its establishment as a Special Site of Nature Conservation Interest by B&H Council. Deeper water species can be found at shallow depths on the pontoons as these structures rise and fall with the tide keeping the attached animal turf permanently submerged. Details of the species present can be found here: marina.

Seahorses have been seen, but during a survey prior to the works carried out in 2013-2014 none were found. However, their apparent absence does not mean they are not present still as they are very elusive. The advent of cameras like the GoPro™ would now make surveying much easier without the need to use SCUBA which is not allowed. The seahorses appeared to occupy the top 0.6 m or so of the water column close to boats and the colonised pontoons.

Here are some of the wonders of this underwater world; mouse-over for details and click to enlarge:

web_purple_sponge
web_mixed2-150x150
web_oyster_and_other_life
web_ciona_etc
web_squirts_sponge_oyster
web_under_pontoon
web_metridium1
web_styela_other_squirts
web_seahorse2
web_seahorse_on_divetorch
web_shanny2_prawns
web_painted_goby1
web_life_on_rope2
web_growth-on-rope
web_worm_etc
web_metridium2
web_squirts_inc_botryllus
web_candystripe_flatworm_etc
web_IMG_1648-150x150
web_sagartiogetum4
web_clavelina1
web_suberites_metridium
web_ciona_intestinalis1
web_suberites1
web_under_pontoon2
web_seahorse_seaweed_pipefish
web_wrasse_underpontoon
web_metridium2
web_IMG_1648
web_sagartiogetum4
web_metridium1
web_suberites1

Gerald Legg August 2014

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Unless otherwise stated all images are Copyright of Gerald Legg, naturaimaging. If you would like to use any images, then high resolution ones can be obtained by contacting me.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.