Guest blogger: Steve Trewhella, wildlife photographer and marine specialist

My work on beach strandlines stems from my love of beachcombing, going onto a beach after a storm is a natural high for me. For some our only chance to observe exotic species such as goose barnacles and the Portuguese man o' war is when the winds and tides deposit them on our beaches.

by Steve Trewhella

When you take the time to observe flotsam on the shore, you realise it's a valued wildlife habitat. Birds and bats spend time foraging the piles of rotting seaweed for sandhoppers and / or seaweed flies. Shrews and other small rodents feed on pupae and insects, and badgers and foxes also use the beach to search for the remains of birds and marine mammals.

by Steve Trewhella

Unfortunately our love affair with single use plastics has resulted in untold amounts litter ending up on our strandlines, this is not only unsightly, it can be of great danger to wildlife too. As a result many beaches are cleaned with tractors, to remove litter, but natural debris and habitat are also being lost as a result. This can impact on both animals and sand dunes which need the organic input for pioneering plants that stabilize the developing dunes.

by Steve Trewhella

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Jodiemacjodious

    on 6 Jun 2013 16:19

    ^ Correct!
    (On Springwatch Unsprung last night you featured a 'seed' sent in by Louis Bingham aged 6) Last year I traveled to Mallorca and found a beach covered in them. Luckily it was a trip with my fellow uni students and lecturers, one of which knew exactly what it was.. a type of sea grass grows close by to the beaches. As these die and break up the rhythm of the waves churns these little pieces, the waves rolling them against the sand. It just need a catalyst, such as a seed (like you found on the inside) to start the build up of these pieces and the continuing waves eventually rolls them into balls! Quite fascinating! Some one has even done a rather unconventional study on this. They gathered the sea grass and placed it in a washing machine for years and years i believe and eventually too came out with these fussy balls! Hope this helps.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by Jerry Bowdrey

    on 5 Jun 2013 20:17

    I think the mystery plant remains shown tonight are sea balls (also known as Neptune's balls!) They are fragments of Neptune's grass (Posidonia oceanica) a marine grass found on the sea bed around the Med.

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