Seaweed from the Big Seaweed Search at Wembury 2016 Anna Starley

The Big Seaweed Search is a community science survey in partnership between us and the Natural History Museum – get your class involved today!

Why seaweed?

Seaweeds play a major role in marine ecosystems and are a vital part in the marine food chain, providing nutrients and energy for other animals.

They're also ocean superheroes, as they help mitigate the effects of climate change and store blue carbon.

We're seeing sea temperature increases, sea level rise and ocean acidification as a result of climate change. These changes alter the distribution of different seaweed species, and the Big Seaweed Search is all about tracking and recording these changes around the coast.

Big Seaweed Search

Credit: Sanjay Mitra

How can I help?

Through the Big Seaweed Search we want to learn more about some of the key seaweed species found in our waters, record where they are, and find out how their distribution is changing over time. But we need your help!

We need help collecting data on 14 seaweeds around our coastline so that we can build a bigger picture of how these species are faring here in the UK. This bigger picture helps us monitor the impact of environmental changes on our seas.

The big seaweed search at Wembury 2016 Anna Starley

Credit: Anna Starley

Getting started

It’s easy to take part. The Big Seaweed Search guide explains what you need to do, and provides photos to help you to identify each of the seaweeds we are focussing on. You can complete the simple survey on a mobile, tablet or computer.

The survey can be carried out at any time of year and as an individual or in groups – it's up to you!

To get involved, simply:

  1. Register to take part and download your guide and recording form at
  2. Choose your 5m of coastline to survey
  3. Fill in your survey form
  4. Take LOTS of clear, close-up photographs for your survey to be accepted
  5. Submit your survey through

And that's it! Thank you for helping us monitor our vital seaweed species here in the UK.

Teaching resources

We've created two lesson plans for pupils aged 7-11 to learn more about seaweed species and the ever-changing and ever-interesting world of rockpools - places where you can find seaweeds like Gutweed and Bladderwrack.

Download the activity packs for information about each of the lessons, including instructions for the lesson plan and the activities. The lessons themselves are available as PowerPoint presentations, and the activities and handouts in the activity packs include all you need for your pupils to take part.

Make sure to check out our instructions for your practical Big Seaweed Search at the shore and our editable risk assessment.

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

BBC Bitesize: Why is our ocean important?

Our Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager for Wales, Lauren Eyles, recently spoke to BBC Bitesize about why our ocean is important and why we must look after it.

Check out this video of Lauren talking to Lilia and Jayden at the beach at Ogmore where they find out more about superhero seaweeds and learn about keeping our seas clean and healthy!

Student during Big Seaweed Search on Rottingdean beach Kate Whitton

Credit: Kate Whitton