Living beaches, inventory the biodiversity of the beaches
The wrack line, made up of debris of plant and animal origin, contributes to the natural balance of the shoreline. As part of the food chain, these deposits also help to stabilise the coastline and are home to a diverse range of species closely linked to this environment. To help researchers study this ecosystem, join the Living Beaches citizen science program.
Focus on seaweeds
Seaweeds grow in the sea, forming marine habitats; then, as their life cycle progresses, winds, currents and tides pull them away from their substrate, leading to varying amounts washing up on beaches. Climate change and the eutrophication of water bodies, beach uses and management affect their contribution to foreshore detritus and certain typical or vulnerable species. Documenting this evolution on a large spatial and temporal scale allows researchers to understand what is happening in order to better preserve this ecosystem. This is the challenge undertaken by the Living Beaches citizen science program and the Alamer protocol, to be undertaken on the Channel and Atlantic coasts.
Flora and fauna
Thanks to the nutrient inputs from the sea bed, a whole range of beach top vegetation flourishes in spring, playing an important role in the dynamics of the coastline. Rising temperatures, sea levels, extreme weather events, beach use and management, urbanisation, etc. affect this biodiversity. Better prediction of the changes at work is another goal of the Plages Vivantes (Living Beaches) program, via the Floramer protocol. And for experienced or amateur ornithologists, there is yet another: Olamer!
Exploring with squares
You don’t have to be a specialist to participate! For lovers of the big blue, here is a good reason to walk the beaches all year round! At low tide, start by laying a 25-metre string along the wrack line, describe its average dimensions (width, thickness) and note any activity observed in the area (tracks left by a sand screener, access for motor vehicles, sand yachts, etc.). Then form a square of 1 m² along this line with a second string and take a picture of it after placing a numbered label inside. You can now identify and quantify the seaweed present inside this perimeter by using the tools available. The last stage consists of entering your data in the input form ("I participate" tab), and that's it: your precious data will contribute to the scientists’ analyses!
If you wish to participate in the Plages Vivantes program, go to the dedicated website.