Shipwrecks

Since records began over two hundred ships have wrecked off the island’s treacherous rocky coastline. Today many still provide an attraction to divers, as they have formed artificial reefs and are covered in marine life.

  • MV Robert © Mike Deaton

Shipwrecks provide a hospitable environment for marine animals.  When a ship sinks it immediately becomes shelter for marine organisms. These artificial habitats provide new food sources, greater protection and more space for settlement, as the physical structures like the rooms, walls and compartments of a sunken ship provide shelter from light and predators, allowing many species to flourish.  At the same time they also provide predators a hiding place to conceal themselves while they wait to ambush unsuspecting prey. 

Space is at a premium in a reef environment and the new structure of a ship is utilised very quickly.  Scientists have found that over time the similarities between natural reefs and artificial ones are very similar. 

On Lundy the wrecks of the Robert, HMS Montagu and Carmine Filomena are a magnet for marine life.  Their surfaces are covered in animals like plumose and jewel anemone, while their structures provide shelter for fish such as bib, trigger fish and conger eel, while lobster hide in crevices on the seabed.

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Copyright Lundy MCZ 2017