Author: CBMWC Officer

Christian Ball, Welshpool High School, 8th-12th July 2013

I decided that for my work placement I would like to work in the field of marine wildlife conservation and I found that the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre wasn’t too far away for me to travel. Fortunately CBMWC offered me the perfect work placement so I seized the opportunity and was delighted to be working here.

All the volunteers at the centre were very helpful and polite offering very useful advise. My experience at CBMWC has been one of the most memorable, as I have witnessed first hand how everyone can help in conserving the marine life around the UK and especially in Wales, demonstrating how important conservation is.

During my work placement I have observed the dolphins every day and have been out on the boats with the dolphins swimming under the boat which proved to be the best moment of my trip. I also enjoyed doing land surveys with both volunteers Lee and Phoebe . It was great to talk to the volunteers who told me where I could study and made it clear to me that volunteering is important to give you the vital experience before you can properly get into the job of your dreams.

I have had a stunning week and have thoroughly enjoyed working with you all. Thank you once again to Laura and everybody.

Gwen Machin, Michael House School, 1st-5th July 2013

I have had a really great work experience here at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre where I shadowed the volunteers, along with two other work experience girls. Together we did various tasks such as litter picking, land surveys, boat surveys, data entry and working in the centre. On my very first day we went on a boat survey and saw dolphins before we had even set off! I have learnt all about how they do surveys from land and from the boat and what is important to note down. Throughout the week all the volunteers have been so welcoming and helpful and have really helped me learn about the work that goes on here and marine conservation. All the different tasks that I have done have been so much fun, even the litter picking, though my favourite task  was the boat surveys were the dolphins came about 20 meters away from the boat. It was truly amazing working here at the CBMWC and it has helped me realise what I would like to go on to study. I would love to return back to the CBMWC and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for experience in this field.

Alice Sewell, Kingsmead Technology College, 1st-5th July 2013

During the week I, along with two other work experience girls, shadowed volunteers working here at CBMWC, helping them in tasks such as; litter picking along the beaches near the centre, assisting with the land watch surveys and tagging along on the boats trips! Every day has been fun and informative. On my first day, a boat survey was going on and we were allowed to come along. Immediately, just as the skipper was giving his speech about how there is no guarantee we shall see anything, two bottlenose dolphins popped out of the water not 20m away!
Throughout the week sightings of bottlenose dolphins and grey seals were constant. This gave me the opportunity to ask many questions about these animals which were happily answered. Talking to the volunteers and the people that work in the centre has really opened my eyes to opportunities that are out there. It really helped that everyone was so welcoming, making the week enjoyable and interesting. It has been a great experience and I have learnt many things and gained experience that is vital in achieving my dream job in marine study. I truly enjoyed my week work experience at CBMWC and if the opportunity arises I shall definitely return. The abundance of marine life in New Quay and the friendly attitude of the people working here made this week one I shall never forget.

Fran Thomas, St Bartholomew’s School, 1st-5th July 2013

I decided to organise work experience with Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre during my holidays after completing my GCSEs as I knew it would be an amazing and interesting experience, which would help me get a job in marine biology in the future. It really didn’t disappoint. I arrived in New Quay on the Saturday and saw dolphins from the harbour that evening, then again everyday for the entirety of my visit. Throughout the week I took part in many aspects of the work that is done at CBMWC, my personal favourite being the boat trip I was able to go on, where I saw dolphins and many different species of bird, including diving gannets! All of the activities were great, even the litter pick was fun! Whilst doing land watch we saw lots of bottlenose dolphins and even a grey seal right by the pier. I also found it incredibly interesting talking to the volunteers as we shared the same interests and it was very helpful to be able to find out more information about what they plan to do and future job paths which I may also want to follow. Everyone was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming and I am so happy I was able to visit the centre and will definitely look in to volunteering with them in the future! Thank you!

Visitor centre and education room open for 2013

Our visitor centre is now open daily from 9am to 5pm. Come and visit us to find out all about the local marine wildlife and view our stunning rockpool aquarium.

Our ground floor education and activity room is open weekends and school holidays too. Drop in and design your own sea creature, sort out trash from treasure and see how much you know about the oceans in our fishing game. For more information please contact us on 01545 560 224.

Clean Coasts Week

Help us clean our coastline between 13-19 May 2013!

Keep Wales Tidy, along with local community groups, McDonald’s restaurants, schools and businesses will be organising events across the country to clear beaches of unwanted litter and debris.
The event follows the success of the charity’s Coast Path Clean Up Weekend which took place last year ahead of the opening of the Wales Coast Path.

CBMWC has organised its own beach clean event on Sunday 19th May in conjunction with Quay West Holiday Park, New Quay. We’ll be cleaning Traeth Gwyn – the long sandy beach east of the town beach. Please meet either at Quay West’s reception at 9:45am or find us on the beach between 10am and 12pm if you would like to join us. Wear sturdy shoes, but we’ll provide gloves, bags and litter picks.

We hope to see you there!

The community structure and ecology in and around a Sabellaria alveolata biogenic reef

Justin Grainger BSc (Hons) Marine Biology, Ecology and Conservation, Anglia Ruskin University


Cei-Bach is a semi sheltered bay within the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in West Wales, and designated for its honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata) biogenic reef habitat, which provides a biodiverse substratum on an otherwise scouring benthos. The study objectives were to make a rapid and effective assessment of the community structure and ecology with limited resources. GIS was used to measure the reef extent and environmental gradients for direct comparison with taxa response.
With some 52 species of macro-epifauna identified, there was much noise in the data and challenges in identifying the key players shaping the community. Indirect ordination techniques of Cluster Analysis and Principal Components Analysis (PCA) were used with MVSP to resolve three clear community assemblages and their defining species. This enabled direct ordination with five environmental variables of shore position, stability, salinity, turbulence and submersion through Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA); whilst mitigating the characteristic “horseshoe” effect when resolving noisy data, or rare taxa, with Correspondence Analysis.
The results showed significant heterogeneity in the community structure and higher biodiversity within the reef extent. The reef was effectively “framed” by limiting factors of transition from an intertidal environment to the North; desiccation to the south, and east; excessive seston and salinity reducing inundation of freshwater to the west, where the honeycomb worm was competitively excluded by functioning guilds of Ulva sp. The study found that the assemblages were defined most strongly by shore position, substrate stability and salinity, and highlighted the challenges of effective environmental variable selection in direct ordination.

Download the full dissertation here.

Science officer runs Virgin London Marathon

CBMWC’s science officer Sarah Perry will be running the Virgin London Marathon on 21st April in aid of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), the charity that saves lives at sea.

As well as being our science officer and studying for a PhD Sarah is also volunteer crew on the New Quay lifeboat. Please show your support for her efforts and the RNLI by sponsoring her. You can sponsor her online through Virgin Money Giving

 Click here for more information about the RNLI

Thank you

Name a boat competition

Our ecotourism partner Dolphin Survey Boat Trips have a new boat coming for the 2013 season and they need your help to name it. The new boat is a white, 10m long catamaran (twin hull) and it will become our primary research vessel.

To enter, email your suggested boat name to Entries must be received by 5pm on 31st January. Steve, owner and skipper of Dolphin Survey Boat Trips will be picking the winning name and the lucky winner will receive a two hour boat trip for two onboard the new vessel.

Good luck!