Local Community News

WIGHTLINK’S VERTIPOOLS AMAZE MARINE BIOLOGISTS

L-R: Dr Alice Hall, Claire Hector, Nicola Craig and Ian Boyd

Pioneering artificial rockpools (or ‘vertipools’) attached to the side of Wightlink’s harbour in Fishbourne last year are already attracting a fascinating range of Solent marine life.

A survey in June 2018 found 29 species including crabs, barnacles and sea squirts living inside the triangular-shaped structures. They are covered by the sea at high water and can be seen when the tide falls.

Isle of Wight consultancy Artecology designed and installed 6 vertipools in 2017 as part of the ferry company’s £45million investment in a new ship for the Portsmouth route and improved port facilities.

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Wightlink’s newly appointed Environmental Officer Nicola Craig joined Bournemouth University marine biologist Dr Alice Hall and Artecology’s Ian Boyd and Claire Hector to view the structures at close range on a short voyage to the harbour wall on a launch from the neighbouring Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Ecologist Ian Boyd says:

“Vertipools are a true Island innovation and it’s marvellous to see them being deployed with such effect right here at home. Artecology is all about creating a built environment more favourable for wildlife and Wightlink is helping to do just that.”

Dr Alice Hall will be monitoring the vertipools twice a year to keep track of the different species that inhabit them. She says:

“The vertipools at Fishbourne have colonised very well and are supporting a wide range of species which would otherwise be absent from the concrete structure. They are also providing a refuge for animals such as crabs and sea spiders when the tides falls. I look forward to monitoring them further to see how they change and develop over time.”

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