Published: 2 August 2018 at 12:15
Anglia Ruskin academic asks public to report octopus, squid and cuttlefish sightings
A biologist is calling on the British public to help improve our knowledge of the octopuses, squid and cuttlefish living off the coast of the British Isles.
Although these creatures, which are all cephalopods, have been the subject of extensive research around the world, surprisingly little is known about their behaviour closer to home.
In fact it was an unusual mass stranding of octopuses on a beach in Wales last autumn that prompted Anglia Ruskin University biologist Dr Gavan Cooke to set up a Facebook group – UK cephalopod reports – to record sightings.
Dr Cooke is asking anyone spending time by the sea this summer – whether diving, beachcombing or exploring rockpools – to submit their photos and help scientists expand their knowledge of where cephalopods live, and how they behave, off the British coast.
The citizen science project has already delivered some incredible reports, including a photograph taken by a diver off the coast of Dorset of a very large common octopus (Octopus vulgaris), which has rarely been recorded in UK waters since the cold winter of 1962-63. Another remarkable image captures, for the first time, what is believed to be a group of sleeping cuttlefish.
Members of the public can contribute by visiting the UK cephalopod reports Facebook group.
Picture credits: Terry Griffiths