Filey Brigg Underwater Life Survey
In 1995 the divers of the Filey Brigg Research Group completed an underwater biological survey of several locations around Filey Brigg. Dr Sue Hull of Hull University assisted with species identification and a description of the seashore environment for a subsequent report, which can be downloaded by clicking on : Underwater Biology of Filey Brigg
Filey Brigg – Wreck of Eglantine dark garden of the undersea
In the early hours of April 16th 1915 the 1300 ton Collier Eglantine Struck Filey Brigg in a position about mid way between the end of the Brigg and the Bell Buoy which marks the Brigg as a shipping hazard. The Eglantine’s captain had been trying to avoid, what he thought was a German Submarine by taking his ship inshore. The local lifeboat was called out and all the crew were rescued safely with no loss of life.
Over the years winter gales have destroyed most of the wreck leaving metal plates, the propeller shaft and other resistant parts remaining. The ship lies in about 15 metres of water and the Filey Brigg Research Group used the site for part of their biological monitoring project in the mid nineties. The photographs in this gallery show the types of life aroud the wreck, including large clumps of dead men’s fingers which are like a sort of soft coral. Even at this depth, sediment in the water cuts our much of the light. At 25 metres or so, there is very little light at all.Our gallery photographs below show the gloomy conditions and the exotic carpet of animals when the area is lit:
Diver counts dead men’s fingers Eglantine site
Steel beam on wreck of Eglantine
Part of Propeller shaft on Eglantine
Light Bulb sea squirts at Eglantine Site
Bryozoans on Eglantine
Dead men’s fingers above wreck plate on Eglantine
Dead men’s fingers (top) on Eglantine
Colonial Sea squirts site of Eglantine
Wreck of Eglantine – courtesy Filey Museum
The Worm City of Filey Bay
Sand Mason Worms (Lanice conchilega) in Filey Bay
A multitude of sand mason worms (Lanice conchilega) carpet large parts of Filey Bay and some can be seen at low tides . The tubes are about 4 to 5cm in height, made up of coarse sand grains and any bits of hard material that is available. The worm that made them can be as long as 30cm and lives below in a burrow. As the tide comes in it will come out to feed, using a mass of tentacles to entrap bits of food including small animals and waste material.
These colonies of sand mason worms have a vital role to play in keeping the beach clean. They are an important food source for the baby plaice that live in Filey Bay. The plaice, which are about the size of postage stamps, browse the tentacles of the sand mason worm, which will regrow.
The author was once involved in a ‘clean the beaches’ campaign when the campaigners were approached by a firm specialising in beach cleaning machinery. They were very proud of their new model which would strip the sand to a considerable depth, filter it, clean it of all organic material and then disinfect it before it was spewed out at the rear of the machine. The sand mason worm, along with a multitude of other small creatures living in the sand, doesn’t need such ‘help’ and makes a pretty good job of mopping up. They also offer a ‘fast food’ service to our local fish.
Body of Sand Mason Worm Author - Matthias Buschmann (User:M.Buschmann) Wikipedia commons
The Blue Rayed Kelp Killer
Bue Rayed limpets
Kelp forests carpet rocky outcrops in Filey Bay and at Flamborough Head to a depth of about 10 metres. Kelps have been compared to Oak forests of the sea, with hundreds of species living on them or in their root system, which is called a ‘holdfast’. The prettiest kelp dweller by far is the little blue rayed limpet (Patella pellucida) which is commonly seen living on the kelp’s blade (equivalent to a leaf stucture). The limpet is usually about 5 to 10mm in size and eats the kelp blade by rasping at it with its teeth.
The blue rayed limpet may be pretty at first but as it grows it makes its way down the kelp into the root, losing its pretty markings. Once in the root it eats away the surrounding tissue, with the result that the kelp looses its grip and is washed away.
Kelp on North side of Filey Brigg
The Exotic Seaslugs of Filey Brigg – Seasearch visit Filey
Cuthona caerulea © copyright P. Lightfoot reproduced with permission all rights reserved
Seasearch divers from Yorkshire recently visited Filey Brigg and took photographs of some of the incredibly exotic and diverse marine life found just a few hundred metres from Filey’s beach. On one dive alone they recorded 56 species, including 7 species of seaslug. The word ‘seaslug’ implies the kind of slimy animal found in gardens but simply doesn’t do justice to the colourful beauty and exoticism of these tiny animals. They are often difficult to spot, but tend to eat specific animals, such as certain types of seamats or bryozoans, so if you can find their food, a seaslug that eats that food can often be found nearby. The above photograph is of a seaslug called Cuthona caerulea which is snacking off its favourite hydroid food on Filey Brigg. seaslugs or Nudibranchs, as they are known by scientists are usually short lived and can have several generations each year.
Nudibranchs have always attracted a considerable following. If you want a riveting bedtime read go to A monograph of the British nudibranchiate Mollusca (1845) . The authors of which were Joshua Alder, Albany Hancock and Sir Charles Eliot. Albany Hancock was one half of the Hancock Brothers of Newcastle upon Tyne. His brother John is known as the ‘father of modern taxidermy’ .
Such publications fuelled the Victorian passion for collecting marine life and hordes of ‘would be naturalists’ ripped up British seashores or nearby rocky seabeds with their ‘naturalists dredges’. The wonderful underwater photographs of Seasearch Divers are a much better way of examining these wonderfully colourful animals and their natural habitats.
The Wonderful ‘fishing rod’ of Dyopedos
Dyopedos sp. copyright Kåre Telnes - www.seawater.no -reproduced with permission
The small shrimp like animal (amphipod) known as Dyopedos lives in great numbers on the seabed in Filey Bay near Flamborough Head. Dyopedos can spin threads of mucus to bind together bits of mud, small fragments and its own faeces to form a sort of ‘fishing rod’, which rises up from the seabed. It then sits near the top of the rod, feeding on passing plankton and other organic matter. When young are born they remain with their parent on the ‘fishing rod’ until they grow.
Studies of fish stomachs have shown that Dyopedos is an important diet and can be around 9% of the stomach contents. The little animal move to the bottom of the rod when threatened by fish, which eat the tip of the rod, rather than Dyopedos.
The photograph above is reproduced from the beautifully illustrated Norwegian site www.seawater.no with kind permission.
S. Mattson,T. Cedhagen, 1989 – Aspects of the behaviour and ecology of dyopedos monacanthus (Metzger) and d. porrectus Bate, with comparative notes on dulichia tuberculataBoeck (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Podoceridae) . Department of Zoology, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology Volume 127, Issue 3, 6 June 1989, Pages 253–272.
Martin Thiel, 1997 - Reproductive Biology of an Epibenthic Amphipod (Dyopedos Monacanthus) With Extended Parental Care. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (1997), 77 : pp 1059-1072
The Filey Bay Environmental Statement
The environmental group Filey Against Dredging (“FAD”) was formed in 1990, in response to an application made by ARC Marine to dredge 20 million tonnes of sand and gravel from Filey Bay, on the North Yorkshire coast. Following massive public and local council support, FAD commissioned an extensive Environmental Study of Filey Bay. In the light of this evidence the Dredging application was retracted. The Filey Bay Environmental Statement remains an important document and is consulted by utility firms and other organisations wanting to work in the Bay.
Filey Against Dredging under it’s new name of the Filey Coast Issues Group still keeps a watchful eye on any developments which might threaten the beautiful Marine Environment of Filey Bay.
|Mammals & Reptiles|
|Things to do|
|Discover Filey in Depth|
|Filey Folk Club|