FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Sponge Identification

  • NON-RESIDENT: £330

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

The course will introduce participants to species that are found on the shores of Pembrokeshire in the lower intertidal zone. Many sponges are very difficult to identify with any degree of certainty in the field, therefore the emphasis will be placed on learning how to collect samples, make a spicule preparation, and examine their ‘skeleton’ under a microscope. You will also be taught how to tell similar species apart in-situ by looking at certain features, and learn about the different habitats that occur in the intertidal and sub-tidal zones. The dates cover the lowest tide of the year in Pembrokeshire. This course can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in marine sponges wishing to learn more about them, and in particular how to identify them. It can be as easy or advanced as you choose, and will be suitable for both keen amateurs and professional surveyors interested in either intertidal or sub-tidal species. The aim is for you to become skilled at preparing samples for microscopic examination and successfully identify a sponge by learning how to recognise the different types of spicules present in each species. During the lab sessions, as well as looking at the samples collected by you on the shore each day, there will be preserved specimens from the sub-littoral to work on.

Jen Jones works as a marine biologist and sponge taxonomist, and is a 'Seasearch' tutor. She is co-author of two papers describing new sponge species from the Falkland Islands.


This course is part of the Biological Recording programmes run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). There is assessment of learning on the course through, for example, identification tests, producing survey reports or field journals, working through keys and other various pieces of work.

Credits from these assessments contribute towards the University Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification and the MSc Biological Recording. To gain University Credits you must register in advance.

To do this, please contact the Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, Manchester Metropolitan University (Shrewsbury Office),The Gateway, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1NB Telephone: 01743 355137 E-mail: [email protected] For more information about the course please visit the MMU website: http://www.sste.mmu.ac.uk/recording/ The course is also suitable for non-credit students.


Marine Biological Association (MBA) Members and Marine Conservation Society Members - 10% discount 

If you are a Member of the MBA or the MCS you can enjoy a 10% discount on this course.

Please use the appropriate voucher code at the checkout:

MBA Members - MBA10

MCS Members - MCS10

You will be asked for proof of membership before we take the money.

Further Information

Sponge Identification - More Information
About Orielton
Directions to Orielton

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here.

View your basket