Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 1. Boston Harbor Observations. UPDATED (Kris Pandeli)

Kris Pandeli

Saturday: August 2nd 2008.

Weather: sunny and muggy

Location: Marriot Long Wharf

This morning it was a low tide at 9 am with an expected high tide at 1 pm. The tides change every 6 hours. A (+) tide is considered that above the average and a negative vice versa. On the stone wall of the harbor you can see green algae in different spots, about 6 ft. down you can see the seaweed. This intermediate zone as can be seen by the coloration of the wall which is called the inter tidal zone. Close to the wall you can see the fishes seemed to be feeding. Walking along the harbor we ended up by the Barking Crab doc. Here we observed, collected and drew analysis of many specimens trying to determine what they were as we shared thoughts with other students and by using Peterson Field Guide of the Atlantic Seashore.


All the students observed different locations of the harbor walls and the Barking Crab doc. Observations, drawings, and touching of specimens were made. Suggested conclusions were drawn based on the notes that were recorded. Later on the day more research is needed and the use Peterson’s Filed Guide will help us determine what these creatures and plants are; what their scientific name is.


Being the very first day of class I must say I wasn’t very prepared for it, so there was a shortage of tools. That aside, I mostly used my hands and eyes for observation. Other tools included my pen, notebook, and my fellow students’ guide book.

Observation and data:

1.Hollow Green Weed

My first specimen was the green seaweed, 7 inches long and wide, which looked bright green but with many inside foldings almost looking like the surface of the human brain. It looked harmless until I found out that in those folding gap of the weed many little bug look-alike were crawling allover the place. So I moved my hand away from it. It seemed that this sea weed was providing a living/breeding place for these tiny creatures.

According to Peterson’s Filed Guide: This Seaweed I think is called Hollow Green Weeds (pg 27)

2. Skeletal shrimp:

Second specimen I observed with the seaweed was those tiny shrimp like creatures. They were moving like ants but when you looked closer they had these small arms/legs sticking out and the tail that crawled inward like that of the shrimp. And that’s’ when I drew my first conclusion that these were tiny baby shrimps. They were two mm wide and four mm long. They were white with a little reddish to yellow color.

3. Blue Mussels:

But then I put my hand in the water and pulled out what I call bigger seaweed attached to many roots and muddy material. Attached there were these three mussels and around were about thirty other baby mussels. This definitely seemed like the breeding place for mussels. The mussels were dark in color almost black to a dark blue color and the baby ones were lighter in color. I think these are the blue mussels.

4. Orange Sheath Tunicate:

The orange mushy stuff that seemed to be invading the surface of the mussels was like patches of some sort of parasite or some type of algae. In some mussel shells there was just a spot of this orange material but in some they had almost covered the whole mussel.
I thought this is some sort of orange sponge. But after I read my peers blog I realized that they had called the orange sheath tunicate. Further with my y research I came across the Marine Invasive Species and found out that this is called indeed the Orange Sheath Tunicate more accurately (Botrylloides Violaceus). And there it was described similarly to what I saw on the Barking Crab: “ Can grow over other organisms, leading to their possible death”. This is great stuff!!! I was happy to find it and be confident in identifying to what it was.

5. Sea Caterpillar?

My last observed creature included what I initially name the water caterpillar. It moved really fast trying to get away. It was hiding inside the shell of a mussel. I tipped it over and I could see the numerous almost netlike legs which obviously was the reason for this creature to move so fast. It was about 2.5 cm long and .5 cm wide. It had a dark brown color on top but a light one on the bottom. Maybe the coloration has to do something to do with this creature trying to disguise itself. I looked at Hitchhikers I think this is a Asian isopod because it looks somewhat similar but will a closer look it is quite different. The main difference is the legs. In the Asian isopod you can clearly see the legs but in water caterpillar the numerous legs almost form a net around this creature. I still cant figure out the scientific name but I did find a picture of it under the name of “Sea caterpillar”. If anyone will be able to identify it from the picture, please post a comment and let me know.

For the rest of the day we took the boat along the Boston Harbor from the Long Wharf to Quincy. On the way we listened to professor Berman discuss on ways of improving and maintaining the harbor clean. Overall it was a long day but exciting.

~Kris Pandeli

1 comment:

Kris Pandeli said...

Also if anyone wants to know the name of that other orange tunicate that prof Berman was holding and said that it squirted, well its name is Club Tunicate.