At a glance
Identify and record seaweeds.
Type of activity: Outdoors
Who can take part? Everyone
When? All year round
Where? UK seashore
How long will it take? About one hour
Help us monitor the effects of environmental change on Britain's sealife by exploring the seashore and recording the living seaweeds you find there.
Spring 2020 update
Thanks for all your help so far with the survey. If you want to know what kind of data is being collected and the best ways to contribute more, please download this update (PDF 444KB).
Why we are doing the project
The Big Seaweed Search first launched in 2009. Hundreds of people took part and the data gathered, alongside other research, show that the distribution of seaweeds around the UK is changing.
Now we aim to scale up the survey to collect thousands of new observations and to focus on key environmental issues that need more research.
These issues are:
- rising sea temperature
- the arrival and spread of non-native species of seaweed
- ocean acidification (the sea becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing carbon dioxide from the air)
Home to a particularly high diversity of species, the UK is a special place for seaweeds. Unfortunately, seaweeds are not as popular as flowers, butterflies or birds, so fewer people make and submit observations of them.
As a result, we know comparatively little about the abundance and distribution of seaweed species, and how this may change over time.
Understanding more about seaweeds is critical to protecting marine environments.
How to take part
2. Visit the seashore and choose your survey plot. This should be a five-metre-wide strip that runs from the top of the shore right down to the sea.
3. Walk to the sea, then take a photo of your plot (with your back to the sea).
4. Walking away from the sea, thoroughly explore the whole of your five-metre-wide plot. Record the seaweeds you find on the recording form and photograph them.
5. Submit your results and photos using our online form, or post them with printed photos to:
Big Seaweed Search
Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity
The Natural History Museum
You can send in records at any time of the year and as many times as you like.