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Ormers tagged in project to monitor island’s population

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The first ormer survey carried out on an ormering tide took place last weekend when 13 volunteers gathered at Lihou causeway.

As part of a new long-term project being undertaken by the marine biology section of La Societe Guernesiaise to monitor the island’s ormer population the volunteers searched the area for the mollusc.

The project is being coordinated by marine biology section secretary Laura Bampton who said that although it had been announced on social media only recently, they had already held three tagging events so far.

Between them the volunteers tagged 20 ormers.

‘It’s been a good day,’ said Ms Bampton, ‘we are really pleased.’ So far 36 ormers have been tagged in total and the public are encouraged to contact the project if they catch any tagged ormers above eight centimetres.

Surveys were done at low tide. Volunteers turned rocks over and counted how many they had checked.

Care was taken to always leave the habitat as it was originally found.

When an ormer was discovered, its length and height from the rock was measured and a photo taken. It was then tagged with a yellow label that had a unique code and fixed to the shell with water-activated glue.

The rock was placed back as it was and was also measured and photographed.

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Then the GPS location was recorded.

Using the number of tagged ormers and the number of those seen again, an idea of the population size can be developed.

The information the project has collected will also shed light on the biology, ecology and behaviour of the species including how the population changes each year and what marine habitats ormers are using.

All tagging events so far have been at Lihou causeway.

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‘It seemed to make sense to start [at Lihou] as it’s one of our Ramsar sites,’ said Ms Bampton, who hopes the project will be able to target other locations on island as the surveying continues.

  • A Ramsar site is a Wetland of International Importance designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and encourages the conservation of an area. There are three other sites besides Lihou Island and L’Eree headland that have this designation in the Baliwick of Guernsey: Alderney west coast and the Burhou Islands; Sark’s Gouliot Caves and Headland; and Herm, Jethou and the Humps.
  • Anyone who would like to help with the project or report a tagged ormer should contact La Societe marine biology section at marinebiology@societe.org.uk.

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