Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) staff and volunteers have discovered a species of starfish on the seashore at Kimmeridge that has never been recorded there before.
The small cushion starfish (Asterina phylactica) was found by a group of volunteers in rockpools during a seashore exploration on one of the lowest tides of the year in the first week of April.
Marine Awareness Officer, Julie Hatcher, said: “This delicate cushion star is normally found along the west coast of Britain or further south in Portugal and the Mediterranean. It has never been recorded this far east in the UK but may become more common here as a result of climate change.”
The discovery was made during a thorough exploration of the shore by volunteers taking part in a PANACHE project activity. Last year a furrowed crab carrying eggs was discovered at Kimmeridge for the first time, and more new species are expected to move in as climate change affects their distribution.
The discovery of this species is an example of the amazing discoveries which can be found by getting local people out onto the seashore, and this sighting along with other information collected by volunteers will help identify important marine life areas which need protection.
Julie added: “PANACHE is about discovering what lives on the seashore and keeping an eye on it, letting us know about the changes and flagging up any problems the wildlife might be facing. People along both sides of the Channel are taking part and sharing their experiences. It’s an exciting time in marine conservation and this is a way anyone can be actively involved.”
For more information about taking part in a Rockpool ramble this Easter and seeing what marine life you can find on Wednesday 16 April visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/events, or phone 01929 481044.