Outside of the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, France and Duckpool, England, little is known about the distribution of S. alveolata. Cunningham et al. (1984) produced the most extensive review of the distribution and local abundance of S. alveolata in Britain. This grey literature review used historical data from the literature, new data from shore surveys and reports via correspondence with other researchers. As a result of this exercise, changes in the extent of S. alveolata distribution over a period of approximately 100 years were documented. Other data on the distribution and abundance of this important habitat-forming species are currently tied up in field notebooks, unpublished reports and theses which are not accessible to either scientists or coastal managers. Our goal is to use “data archaeology”, “data mining” and “data rescue” to combine both historic and contemporary records in addition to conducting field surveys to establish the past and present global distribution and abundance of S. alveolata.
Efforts will also be made to source information from theses, books and unpublished reports. Furthermore, memoirs of marine stations in France or United Kingdom are important sources to recover information of S. alveolata occurrences. For example in the “Notes et Mémoires de l’Office Scientifique et Technique des Pêches Maritimes” in 1921, we found records of S. alveolata, as it was listed as a competitor for flat oysters (Dollfus 1921). There is also an abundance of unpublished grey literature since Yves Gruet’s thesis, referencing and describing S. alveolata reefs all over the French coast (Gruet 1982).
As well as compiling historical data, many shoreline opportunistic surveys will be organised by the project partners in order to establish the current distribution of S. alveolata along the Atlantic coast of Europe as precisely as possible. This website also allows the public to report the presence and abundance of honeycomb worm reefs via an online form.
These multiple data sources will allow us to map the past and present distribution of Sabellaria alveolata in Europe. All the data will be georeferenced and archived in the Sextant database, where it will be made available to all the people who took part in populating the database.