Sun Star. St. Abbs & Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve.
Sun Star.
Scuba Diving. Scuba Diving.
Ticker tape.
Dahlia Anemone.

The Tide Exposed Zone

Introduction

Introduction
Diversity & Visibility
The Kelp Forest
Down to 15 metres
Pointer to current page.The Tide Exposed Zone
Deeper Water

Shore Diving

Shore Diving at St. Abbs
Wreck of the Odense

Boat Diving

Boat Diving
Wreck of the Alfred Erlandsen
Wreck of the Glanmire

General Information

Air & Information
Map of St. Abbs Head Coastline
Map of St. Abbs Harbour Coastline
Wolf-fish Survey

At a depth of about 15m. the ground falls steeply away and particularly off the SE and NW corners of St. Abbs Head where the tidal flow can be quite strong, the rocks and walls are covered in soft corals. In orange or pure white and standing about 20cms in height, they make a magnificent sight covering every surface in such profusion that it is impossible to see the rock surface itself. Each soft coral colony consists of several fleshy projections which are surrounded by a haze of polyps trapping tiny planktonic prey from the mass of water moving past these exposed locations. The polyps give the corals a swollen puffy appearance and it is not difficult to see how they got their common name of dead man's fingers.

Many of the animals and plants found in the shallow zones are not present in this near vertical world as it is difficult to find space or secure an anchorage. However, other species are better adapted and thrive. Delicate, feathery brittle stars entwine around the soft corals. The huge thirteen armed common sunstar pushes it way purposefully through them. The eel-like butterfish is able to curl from one to the next as it hunts for food. Edible crabs and velvet fiddler crabs press in amongst the corals and in some places there are huge groups of plumose anemones. Gliding along the cliff walls are many Pollack - a member of the cod family whose sinister expression and jutting lower jaw give it the appearance of some cold water version of the barracuda. The male lumpsucker can be also found here. Up to about 30cms in length, this bulbous, fleshy-lipped fish is one of the more colourful and bizarre inhabitants of the North Sea. In the Spring, they move inshore to breed and the male adopts its breeding colours - anything from pink with black dots to yellow with red fins and lips. Once the female has secured her egg mass into a suitable crevice, the male fertilises them. He then clamps himself to the rock next to the eggs with a large sucker on his underside and stands guard duty for several weeks, fending off marauding crabs and starfish until the eggs hatch.

Text and Images by Jim Greenfield.


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Pollack.

Pollack.

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Lumpsucker on Soft Corals.

Lumpsucker on Soft Corals.

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Sunstar on Plumose Anemones.

Sunstar on Plumose Anemones.

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