Bay kelp to help American scientists

Peter McGrath records his strolls in Runswick Bay on an online blog'Picture by Elke McGrath

Peter McGrath records his strolls in Runswick Bay on an online blog'Picture by Elke McGrath

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PHOTOGRAPHS of the Runswick Bay coastline will feature in an American marine biology textbook after the publishers stumbled across the images in an online blog.

A Natural History of Runswick Bay is run by village resident Peter McGrath who records the wildlife he encounters during his daily walks along the beach and cliffs with family and ‘Blogdog’ Smiggy, a border collie with a penchant for seaweed.

Mr McGrath said he started the blog after years of walking the beach and thinking ‘someone really ought to record all the wildlife around here’.

He realised that as he lived nearby, had a great love of the beach and a background in life sciences, he was the ideal candidate to do this.

“I’ve been writing A Natural History of Runswick Bay since 2007 and I intend to keep it going,” he added.

“I’d like to be able to devote a lot more time to it and make it a long-term citizen science project, recording everything in the bay – seaweed, fish, fossils, birds, worms, crabs, microorganisms – and cataloguing the physical and ecological changes over the years.

“I think it could become a useful reference work in years to come.”

Mr McGrath’s images are now set to feature in a textbook entitled Introduction to Marine Biology, by Montana-based academic George Karleskint.

The photographs will appear in a 24,000 strong print run, with each book retailing at $183.

Peter, who studied zoology and marine biology at Liverpool University added: “It was a great thrill to be asked by an academic publisher for permission to use two of my pics.

“I have some wonderful shots of the Bay and its wildlife, but the pics they wanted were of a pretty ratty looking pile of Laminaria digitata seaweed.

“But hey, it’s a feather in the cap for Runswick Bay to appear in an academic textbook that will be read by aspiring scientists all over America.”

Mr McGrath’s blog is available at http://runswickbay.blogspot.com/