Jellyfish - Florian Olivo -unsplash

Wildlife sightings: Aiming for 20,000 in 20 years

2 minute read

Summer isn’t the only season that’s started: it’s jellyfish season too. To celebrate our 20th year of recording your wildlife sightings, we’re hoping you can help us reach our 20,000 records milestone.

Now that Summer’s here, many of us will be visiting the coast to make the most of the sunshine. When you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for jellyfish and turtles – and report any you see to us!

Lion's Mane Jellyfish Farne Islands Scotland Kirsty Andrews

Credit: Kirsty Andrews

It’s always exciting to see a jellyfish or a marine turtle; these fascinating creatures add a bit of extra novelty to a trip to the beach and give us a glimpse into the amazing wildlife living in our shores.

We don’t just love seeing them, we love hearing about the ones you see, too. We keep track of the species, locations and numbers of your jellyfish and turtle sightings – and have done for 20 years.

This data helps us build a picture of life in UK and Irish seas, and track any changes that may occur because of things like climate change.

It also acts a dataset which can be used in scientific research, with your sightings helping to inform numerous research papers.

Leatherback Sea Turtle William Farah

Credit: William Farah via Shutterstock

Since 2003, when our Wildlife Sightings programme began, we’ve collected 18,580 sightings – 18,357 of jellyfish and 223 of turtles.

As we celebrate the milestone of our 20th year tracking these species’ occurrence in our seas, we’re hoping to reach another milestone – 20,000 sightings reported.

To achieve this, we need your help.

Wildlife Sightings 2023 - Total jellyfish sightings

All you have to do is keep doing what you've been for the past 19 years and report any jellyfish or marine turtles you see to us.

With jellyfish season now underway, there’s a good chance you’ll see one when you’re down at the coast - you might even see a leatherback turtle on the lookout for them too!

If you do see any, whether it’s on the shore or further out to sea, on its own or in a group, be sure to let us know.

You don’t need to be a jellyfish or turtle expert. We have some ID guides to help you determine which species you see, but don’t worry if you’re not sure which it is.

Just give us as much information about it as you can – any photos are a bonus.

As well as helping to monitor our seas and informing research, your sightings will be used to produce an annual report summarising the wildlife findings from this year, so you can see what you’ve found.

“I regularly spot marine life at work and I report any jellyfish I see. This enables me to contribute to important scientific projects and make me feel like I’m doing something to help protect our ocean.”

Vicki Hall, citizen scientist

Report a jellyfish sighting

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