Saturday, August 1, 2009

cruising the harbor and scoping the wharfs

Today was an incredible experience. It was my first time for a lot of the things we did. The conditions could not have been any better. It was 80 degrees fahrenheit with a comfortable breeze. The day started at Starbucks, which was nice since I am a huge coffee fan. While there, we engaged in a crammed but very interesting history lesson. We learned from the time when the earth separated and how the glaciers carved the drumlins (boston harbor islands) to how the "Boston Harbor Clean-Up" was created all the way up until present day. After that, we went on a cruise around the harbor where we got to see many of the islands and learned both how these Islands were utilized and how they got their respective names. Many of them are named after an object it resembles or after the person who owns/owned it. All of this was done by noon, where we took a break for lunch and returned to resume class at 1. When we got back to Long Wharf we could immediatley tell the change in the tide which had sunk substantially. When we further observed the wharf we see the difference between the man-made part and the floating part of dock. The man-made area was closest to the sea wall. It contained some black and green seaweed(rockweed) and you could see oyster shell and mussells. It was very shallow. Fifty feet away from there, there was more color and less rockweed. This part of the dock was always wet. Therefore it is capable of hosting more, different kinds of marine life. There was some kelp, some orangey stuff and some green leafy sea lettuce. Just from this observation you can assume that there is much more wildlife outside of the harbor than there is closer to the city. From here, we "broke into" haha Rowes Wharf. While here we got to look under a floating dock that was shaded. Here I saw some barnacles, sponge, shells, and I was even able to see a fish through this dark and murky water. Our observation time got interrupted and were were forced to leave. Next we stopped at the Four-Point Channel, which I think used to be a fort. Gillette is the biggest company that utilizes this passage. Here we also learned about the different ways that they create bridges that are able to allow boats through. There are three different types: Counter Wake, Spin, and Rails (which work like a track that swings the bridge open). Storm water rushes through this area at high spees. Here, we also learned about the "Brackish" water which means it has more salinity than fresh water. To the "Barking Crab" we go. This was a very fun experience. We got to see things some peculiar things up-close. We saw some life forms that we had seen at the previous sites, but we also saw diffent kinds of life. Some sea weed that was grime-encrusted and a little distorted in view and we could see some stuff that kinda of looked like a star pattern which we(me, Monique and Nick) think to be called Golden Star Tunicate(sunny area). We also saw some stuff that looked like a kind of tiger or leopard print, which we think is called Black Speckled Byrozoan. We also noticed all of the different living animals on this plant. Under the dock was some kind of white spiky ball(dark area only) which I am not sure, but I hink might be called a Lined Anenome, which was right next to some shells which appeared to have some tentacles or something popping out. I could not find the name of this animal or plant. There were also some Red Beard Sponge and some Blue Mussels.

Coming from California, I know that when it rains that the level of bacteria increases, because of all the dirt and debris that it can push into the water. This can make it hazardous to someones health and increase their chances of getting sick. The plus side is that the ocean receives more nutrients. Salinity decreases because the water dilutes it, therfore making the water clearer(Trabidity). The current increases and I would think this makes it tougher for certain small animals and plants to stay put. So, that could mean less or different marine life in an area.

Last years picture looks much busier with more going on. I think I had to go with it being so rainy lately that, that is why there is less life on/under the dock. Plants/animals get pushed out, maybe they have to move to spot that is more saline? I am not sure. However, I am sure abbout one thing, the water sure looked cleaner.

-Ryan Santana
My partners were: monique and nick

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