Everyone knows that Liverpool is the home of The Beatles, two of the most famous football clubs in the world, and the 'Ferry Across the Mersey', but do they know what’s lying beneath the surface of the Mersey?
Liverpool’s famous Albert Dock was built in the mid-19th Century and soon became an epicentre for world trade. For years, thousands upon thousands of ships and boats unloaded their cargo at the docks, but it wasn’t just official goods that made their way into Liverpool, there where stowaways too. Sea creatures attached themselves to ships' hulls and were brought into the docks.
The water has become an artificial reef packed with sea life. Looking at the underwater sea scape of the docks you could almost imagine yourself being in the Caribbean.
There are about 30 dominant species, thousands of
mussels and hundreds of two-metre long conga eels,
nicknamed by the locals as 'Dock Ness Monsters' due
to their scary snake like appearance, who now all call
the docks home. During the summer months thousands
of jelly fish can be found floating in the waters.
Simone Dürr, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology from
Liverpool John Moores University, has been monitoring
the sea life in the Albert Dock since 2008.
She told JMU Journalism: “Species from all around the
world are now co-habiting in the docks. The sea life isn’t
that sensitive to pollution, but the docks are extremely
clean due to the great work of the British Waterways.
"Most people are interested in the conga eels which live
in the docks, but to me they are the most boring. There
are so many amazing organisms living there which I think
are extremely special. The docks really are the perfect
lagoon for these sea creatures.”
The water in the docks is so clean that it passed the EU’s strict bathing water standards; this is partly due to the British Waterways doing regular quality checks to ensure the water is rid of pollution so the sea life can thrive. It is also kept clean by the thousands of mussels living in the famous Liverpool landmark; they help to filter bacteria and plankton in the waters.
Due to the cleanliness of the waters in the dock, many swimmers have used it for training. Brian Henners from Liverpool Open Water Swimming Club said: “I have seen the wildlife many times whilst swimming in the docks. During the early summer months I like to swim with the jelly fish
"I have seen the conga eels but they tend to stay away from us swimmers. I love seeing the wildlife flourish as I know the water is of excellent quality for us to swim. As long as there are no man-eating sharks in there, I’m happy.”
Hundereds of mussels and sea creatures lie beneath the boats in the Albert Dock
By Camilla Cole, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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All pictures © Simone Dürr
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