Catchment News

Call for volunteers to explore Irish coastal biodiversity

The National Biodiversity Data Centre has launched a new marine citizen science project called ‘Explore Your Shore! The project focuses on recording intertidal and coastal marine plant and animal species, and building a network of active marine biodiversity recorders in Ireland. The records obtained will improve our knowledge of marine species distributions around the Irish coast.

  • Explore Your Shore! is asking people across Ireland to volunteer to survey their local beach or rocky shore, and submit records of intertidal and coastal plant and animal species to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
  • Explore Your Shore! is working in partnership with a number of existing marine biodiversity surveys, to significantly increase levels of recording of coastal marine species in Ireland.
  • Explore Your Shore! is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Explore Your Shore! is calling on members of the public to get involved by submitting their records of intertidal and coastal animals and plants via

The project is also asking the public to survey specific habitats and species using a suite of online surveys. As part of the project, a number of survey and identification workshops will be held across Ireland.

The records collected will be used to map the current distribution of intertidal and coastal species in Ireland. Explore Your Shore! will assess the use of marine plants and animals as indicators of water and habitat quality, and to monitor the impacts of climate change. The project will also seek to map the distribution of invasive marine species such as wireweed, slipper limpet and Chinese mitten crab.

At a stakeholder workshop held on Bull Island to mark the launch of the project, Dave Wall, Citizen Science Officer with the National Biodiversity Data Centre said:

“Our shorelines are inhabited by a diverse range of marine plant and animal species that are readily identified by the public. The presence of particular species on a given stretch of shoreline can provide an indication as to the water quality and habitat quality at that location.”

The National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Director, Dr Liam Lysaght, added:

“Despite being an island nation the importance of Ireland’s intertidal biodiversity has not received the attention it deserves. This initiative aims to get people more engaged in discovering Ireland’s shoreline and the wonderful biodiversity it contains.”

Explore Your Shore! offers a suite of surveys to enable the public to get involved in marine citizen science data recording. The project aims to inspire people to get out and about on our coastline and to explore and discover the rich diversity of life on our shores. Participants will be able to map and explore their records via the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Citizen Science Portal, as well as benefitting from the physical and mental wellbeing obtained by spending time by the sea.

The project is also partnering with a number of existing coastal biodiversity recording schemes such as Seasearch Ireland diving surveys, Coastwatch eco-audit surveys and Purse Search Ireland recording of shark, skate and ray egg cases. In addition to two exising surveys focusing on casual record collection and beach biodiversity, two more Explore Your Shore! surveys will be rolled out this summer, focusing on rocky shore biodiversity and photo-recording intertidal species.

If you would like to participate in Explore Your Shore! further information, survey forms and other resources are available at

The National Biodiversity Data Centre App is available to download for iPhone or Android via their website

Explore Your Shore! is possible thanks to funding provided by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote citizen science and awareness of water quality in Irish freshwater and coastal aquatic habitats.

Dave Wall, Citizen Science Officer, National Biodiversity Data Centre

Tel: +353 (86) 605 1702


The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a national centre for the collection, collation, management, analysis and dissemination of data on Ireland’s biological diversity, and is funded by the Heritage Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.