A PIONEERING rockpool project set up by a Portsmouth ferry firm has attracted nearly 30 species in its first year.
The artificial rockpools – called vertipools – were attached to the side of Wightlink’s harbour in Fishbourne, Isle of Wight last year.
A survey last month found 29 species including crabs, barnacles and sea squirts living inside the triangular-shaped structures.
The pools are covered by the sea at high water and can be seen when the tide falls.
Consultancy firm Artecology designed and installed six vertipools as part of the ferry company's £45m investment in a new ship for the Portsmouth route and improved port facilities.
Wightlink’s environmental officer Nicola Craig recently joined Bournemouth University marine biologist Dr Alice Hall and Artecology’s Ian Boyd and Claire Hector to view the structures at close range.
Nicola said: ‘As a marine scientist, I’m amazed at the biodiversity in our vertipools and I was proud to learn that Wightlink has been the first company to install them.
‘I’m sure most of our staff would be astounded to see the richness of marine life beneath the waves.’
Ecologist Ian said: ‘Vertipools are a true Island innovation and it’s marvellous to see them being deployed with such effect.’
Dr Hall will be monitoring the vertipools twice a year to keep track of the different species.