Life in a Temperate Marina: Brighton Marina, UK
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:
Gerald Legg August 2014
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