Serpula project

Serpula worms are a tube building polychaete found worldwide, however aggregations of worms only occur at 5 sites (Loch Creran, Scotland; Taranto, Italy; Salt Lake/Ard Bear, Co Galway; Killary Harbour, Co Galway; and Leitir Calaidh, Co Galway). This unique biogenic reef is present at 3 of the sites monitored by Seasearch Ireland as part of the National Marine Monitoring Scheme and as such a rare habitat warrants further study. We hope to raise sufficient funds to begin a video monitoring project at one of these sites as a test case for the wider use of projects of this nature by citizen science recorders in Irish waters. A similar methodology has been used successfully in the Black Bream project.

Serpula vermicularis reefs

Why video monitoring?

Serpula individuals rertract into their tubes when disturbed by divers (see video below). In order to observe the natural activity of colonies and the mobile fauna remote monitoring is the only viable option. Seasearch Ireland will deploy GoPros at the sites to record video footage which will then be analysed by our volunteers to examine the use of the reefs by fish and crustaceans and also to observe any species predating on the individual Serpula.

Video showing Serpula vermicularis retracting in response to torch light

How to donate

You can contribute to the cost of this project by donating through our GoFund me page.