Catchment News

Citizen science: help Explore Your Shore and do a Rocky Shore Safari

The National Biodiversity Data Centre today launched our Rocky Shore Safari which is a new survey under our Explore Your Shore marine citizen science project.

Rocky Shore Safari is the fourth survey of our Explore Your Shore! citizen science project and is designed to collect information on the distribution of marine plants and animals in Ireland’s rocky shore habitats.

Bladder Wrack Seaweed (Photo: © Dave Wall)

Explore Your Shore! is empowering and supporting volunteer citizen scientists to survey and record intertidal and coastal marine biodiversity.

The project is also seeking to build 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 members of the public to get involved in our Rocky Shore Safari by spending one hour surveying their local rocky shore and submitting records of animals and plants to

Explore Your Shore! is targeting coastal habitats and species using a suite of online surveys. As part of the project, online survey and identification workshops and resources will be available with full details posted on our project website at

Shore Crab (Carcinus meanas) (Photo: © Dave Wall)

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

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

National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Director, Dr Liam Lysaght,
Common Starfish (Photo: © Dave Wall)

Explore Your Shore! offers a suite of surveys to enable the public to get involved in marine citizen science biodiversity data recording. In 2019 we received 1400 records of marine species from around the Irish coast. The project wants to inspire people to get out and about on our coastline and discover the rich diversity of life on our shores.

Participants are 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.

Explore Your Shore! is partnered with a number of 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.

Anyone who would like to participate in our Rocky Shore Safari or in any of our Explore Your Shore! Surveys should visit our website at for further information, survey forms and other resources.

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

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.