Found Something Unusual?

The PMNHS has run a recording scheme for its members and any other interested parties, since its inception in 1976. The main rationale behind the scheme comes from:

  • the interest of society members in marine biogeography and species ecology;
  • the recognition that knowledge of species distributions is often very poor; and
  • that many important records are lost because most existing recording schemes do not cater for the collation of informal records.

Although there are many initiatives that involve the gathering of information on marine wildlife the PMNHS scheme is useful for collecting unstructured records i.e. observations that are unlikely to be submitted to other schemes.

Our recording scheme not only includes informal records, but we are also collating all our data from Porcupine field trips and incorporating these into Marine Recorder. Once they are in Marine Recorder they can be exported onto the NBN Gateway without danger of repetition or loss of data as the source remains labelled as Porcupine. Voucher specimens from field trips will be deposited in one of the four national museums as appropriate. The existence of the voucher specimens will be included in Marine Recorder.

Information from records will be published in the society’s journal by way of short notes and articles making the information widely available. Experts in particular taxonomic groups are encouraged to use these records in, for example, atlases and synopses.

Finally, we take this opportunity to remind and encourage our members to continue to submit their records to the scheme: the success of the scheme depends on as much input from the membership as possible. There are two ways to submit records. Firstly, email the Hon. Records Convenor : Julia Nunn –; secondly, print out the records form and post it to Julia.

So, if you have any records of interest, click here to either get a form to fill in and post or a list of information required for e-mail.


Species – the name of the species in Latin (genus and specific names), with authority and date or reference to identification guide if possible. If you do not have a full Latin name, give the best name that you can. e.g. Goneplax rhomboides (Linnaeus, 1758)

Location – the name of the site and the region, e.g. N. side of West Angle Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

Grid Ref. or Lat./Long. – the Ordnance Survey grid reference (Eastings and Northings) or the Latitude and Longitude of the record location. As accurately and precisely as you can. e.g. SX 4671 5346 or 53° 55.34’ N 3° 5.26’ W.

Date – date that the species was collected or recorded (day/month/year), e.g. 12th August 1999

Recorded by – the name of the person who observed and recorded the species, e.g. James Mason.

Phone number – the recorder’s phone number, with area code (incl. country code if appropriate (non-UK)), e.g. 01752-345876

Identified by – the name of the person who identified the species. Will often be the same as the recorder.

Phone number – the identifier’s phone number, with STD code (incl. country code if appropriate (non-UK)).

Other material available – circle if any of the listed items are available – a specimen or photograph of the species, a list of other species recorded from the site, a detailed description of the habitat (e.g. on an MNCR habitat form). You would be contacted on the given telephone number if there was interest in the material.

Habitat details – include as much relevant information as you can on the habitat in which the species was found, e.g. in tideswept well sorted medium fine sand. Include the MNCR biotope code if you know it.

Depth – the depth in meters or the approximate shore zone, e.g. lower eulittoral.

Other information – any other details of potential interest – e.g. unusually high abundance, interesting behaviour, presence of eggs or juveniles, other species in the community, your reasons for recording on the site etc. etc.


Validity of records

The Scheme incorporates a process for checking the validity of records. A panel of taxonomic experts assist in this process. It would obviously be useful if specimens or photographs are available, BUT, please avoid collecting specimens of species that you believe to be rare. There is no point in collecting species to extinction!

Record storage

Records are stored on an electronic database held by the Scheme co-ordinators. Our data policy can be read here: PMNHS data policy

Feedback and publication of records

Feedback to recorders and other marine biologists is by publication of short notes and articles in the society’s journal, by the recorders, the co-ordinators and others. Experts in particular taxonomic groups are encouraged to use the records in atlases and synopses.

Co-ordinators and contact details

Records should be sent to:

Julia Nunn at

We look forward to receiving your records. Keep them coming!