A MARINE charity dedicated to helping people better understand sharks has been carrying out research in Studland Bay.

The organisation, SharkStuff, recently secured funding for its Baited Remote Underwater Video - or BRUV - project.

This funding has helped volunteers build more of the underwater units, which will be deployed at key locations along the Dorset coast in a bid to capture footage of local shark and ray species.

Last week Dorset-based SharkStuff dropped of one of its BRUV units at Studland's South Beach. While no images of sharks or rays were captured on this occasion, the unit did film footage of other species - including bass, bream and gobies - and their important sea grass habitat.

SharkStuff founder and chairman Georgia French told the Daily Echo: "We're especially interested in sea grass and adjacent sandy habitat because it is often used by sharks and rays, including smooth-hound, small spotted catsharks and undulate rays."

The BRUV units, which were funded by the marine conservation organisation Sea-Changers, are essential pieces of equipment fitted with GoPro cameras which allows shark surveys to take place without using lines and hooks.

Georgia said: "We set the go-pro to record for two hours. It is just like fishing with a camera instead of a hook."

On the likelihood of smooth-hound sharks off Studland, Georgia explained: "They are regularly caught from Studland and Sandbanks where they come to feed on crabs.

"Instead of the 'pointy' teeth usually associated with sharks, they have crushing teeth to help them break the shells of their crustacean prey.

"Studland is also a nursery for undulate rays and habitat for small spotted catsharks. Dorset is also lucky enough to be visited by porbeagle, a relative of the great white that is critically endangered in the North East Atlantic, as well as thresher sharks, tope and blue sharks."

SharkStuff has urged anyone with an old GoPro which they're not using to donate it to the cause.

Georgia said: "Our BRUV doesn’t just capture shark and skate data - we report all of the fish that we film to Dorset Seasearch, who use the data to help identify and recommend protected areas to safeguard threatened species, and keep our coasts healthy.

Visit sharkstuff.co.uk for further information.