the Rocky Shores
of Sherkin Island
Ecology of the Rocky Shores of Sherkin Island - A Twenty-Year
Perspective is the first major analysis of rocky shore
data from a programme begun in 1975 in Co. Cork, southwest
Ireland by Sherkin Island Marine Station.
gives well-illustrated background information on the common
species of the rocky shore together with how the rocky shore
food web functions. The main focus of the book though is seven
shores on Sherkin Island where sampling was carried out monthly
between April and October. These seven sites were part of
an ongoing rocky shore monitoring programme of 152 sites,
from Cork Harbour to Bantry Bay, along 700 miles of indented
coastline of southwest Ireland. This is believed to have been
one of the world’s longest and most extensive present day
survey of the rocky shore. Sherkin Island Marine Station in
Co Cork, Ireland, is a totally independent research station
founded in 1975 by Matt Murphy and his late wife Eileen.
with a huge database of hundreds of species, which are listed
in the book, the analysis presented deals only with the few
visually dominant animals and plants (up to 20 per shore)
e.g. the large brown wracks, some common red and green seaweeds,
barnacles, limpets, mussels, winkles and dogwhelks, which
will be familiar to anyone with an interest in the seashore.
The book was written specifically to include people and to
appeal to a wider audience that the academic community. For
this we are indebted to the author, Dr. Gillian Bishop, the
Station’s first marine biologist in 1975 and an environmental
consultant in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The Ecology of the Rocky Shores of Sherkin Island - A Twenty-year
is built upon exceptional and inspired effort going back to
1975. Year by year, volunteer biologists, scientific advisors
and practical helpers have contributed to Sherkin Island Marine
Station's rocky shore monitoring programme, which by international
standards is now outstanding because of its scope and longevity.
We are indebted to Dr Gillian Bishop for distilling an enormous
amount of data, so that the programme's findings together
with background information and interpretation can be brought
to a wide audience. In this book there is something for everyone.
Students and teachers (whether at school or university) will
find much that is relevant to biological studies and fieldwork
projects, and whilst the monitoring results are from southwest
Cork, the information on species and on general principles
is relevant for the whole of Ireland.
it is a key to the huge data bank maintained at the Marine
Station. For any member of the general public with an interest
in marine biology, it is a way of exploring more deeply the
fascinating dynamism of shore life. For environmental scientists,
it elucidates long-term natural fluctuations and trends in
the abundance and distribution of species. This helps provide
a framework for interpreting perceived industrial or other
human influences on the marine environment.
the significance of this book, it is not the final word because
the monitoring programme continues! It is a milestone.
Jenifer M Baker
of "The Ecology of the Rocky Shores of Sherkin Island –
A Twenty-Year Perspective"
with my family on a small mixed farm in Scotland near Aberdeen,
and move in and out of this relatively tranquil environment
and the hectic one of an environmental consultant in the UK
years I have supported exploration drilling in sensitive marine
environments. This mean researching and understanding all
the environmental resources and sensitivities in an area where
we plan to drill, writing oil spill contingency plans and
discussing theses plans and operations with all the many interested
parties – councils, natures conservation bodies, fisheries
and of course the UK government. Over this time period, environmental
legislation has increased and we now present formal environmental
statements to summarise the proposed operation, issues and
environmental impacts. Much of my work has centred on exploring
the Atlantic Margin – the seas to the north and west of the
UK – a fascinating area for the marine biologist – and oil
industry seabed surveys have discovered many new species.
I switched my allegiances to a gas production platform in
the North Sea where gas, condensate and crude oil are produced
and piped ashore, and more wells are continuously drilled
into the reservoir. I manage the environmental programme for
the platform, to ensure we are legally compliant and make
constant efforts to minimise our environmental impact.
bits of the job for me are without question, those that focus
on the marine environment – seabed and seashore animals and
plants – when the marine biologist in me can take over again!
Euro 10.00 (softback)
plus postage - Ireland - €6.00
email for postage rate outside Ireland)
1 870492 57 9 (sb)
175mm x 246mm
by Sherkin Island Marine Station 2003
© Sherkin Island Marine Station