The Bailiwick Eelgrass Exploration Project (BEEP) is a citizen science project aimed to train volunteers help record Eelgrass across the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Formed in 2019, it is a collaborative project, founded by several environmental organisations and volunteers from:
- The Alderney Wildlife Trust
- Guernsey Biological Records Centre
- La Société Guernesiaise
- Biodiversity Partnership (States of Guernsey)
What is Eelgrass?
Eelgrass (also known as Seagrass) is a terrestrial, flowering plant which has adapted to live in the marine environment. It looks like long, green blades of grass poking out of the sand. Across the Bailiwick of Guernsey, BEEP have recorded two different species of Eelgrass: Dwarf eelgrass (Zostera noltei) and Common Eelgrass (Zostera marina).
- Dwarf Eelgrass
Thin blades (6 – 22 cm long) with blunt ends, often resembling green spaghetti. Found in clumps, beds or meadows on upper, sheltered shores.
- Common Eelgrass
Long blades (20 cm – 2 m) with rounded ends and a sheath around stem. Found in clumps, beds or meadows on lower shore – shallow sublittoral zone (0 – 7 m deep).
Why is it important?
Eelgrass form dense meadows which provide an important habitat for a diversity of marine species including fish, crustaceans, molluscs and seaweeds. These meadows can act as nurseries for juvenile fish, breeding sites for cuttlefish and food for wildfowl species. Eelgrass meadows can also reduce coastal erosion and considered a nature-based solution to climate change, through locking organic carbon away within the sands below.
BEEP has three core objectives:
- To record the presence, location, extent and composition of Eelgrass across the Bailiwick.
- To raise awareness and encourage engagement activities related to Eelgrass across the Bailiwick.
- To identify human induced impacts (such as traditional boat moorings) upon Eelgrass across the Bailiwick