Marine life and threats posed by debris

One of the seals seen in the River Adur

One of the seals seen in the River Adur

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A COURSE for adults run by the Sussex Wildlife Trust celebrates some of the larger marine animals be seen off Sussex.

This year has been a fascinating year for marine life, according to course tutor Stephen Savage, who also runs the Sussex branch of the Sea Watch Foundation.

There have been fascinating seal sightings, dolphins, unusual jellyfish and, last year, a basking shark.

The course, Sussex Sea Life – from Mammals to Sharks, takes place at Southwick Community Centre on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Mr Savage said: “In the last few years, we have had some fascinating seal observations, including in Shoreham, and even in the River Adur.

“In fact we have been monitoring a common seal in the River Adur since last Sunday, when it was first spotted by the cement works.

“We have also been following the movements of individual seals, recognising them by unique spot patterns, and this has provided some very valuable information about them.”

The Sussex coast has a rich biodiversity but it is also a fragile ecosystem. The course will discuss the threats posed by marine debris and the effects that climate change may have on marine life.

Mr Savage said: “We will be considering the possible impact of global issues on our local coast and marine life. We will also look at what warmer seas might bring in the way of new species to Sussex such as whales and sharks.”

Last year, as education co-ordinator for Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve, Mr Savage was invited to take part in a marine conference at Plymouth University, which focused on these issues and the health of the ocean.

He explained: “The conference was attended by scientists and educators from 15 different countries. Such conferences are very valuable because it’s only by international co-operation that we have any chance of tackling them global issues.”

Mr Savage is keen to show people how they can help the oceans and the course will also introduce participants to citizen science opportunities to help local marine life.

For further information and to book a place, contact the Sussex Wildlife Trust on 01273 497561 or ww.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/whatson