Saturday, August 1, 2009

Quid est?

Location: Long Warf, Rowes Warf, and Fan Pier (Barking Crab)
Time: 1:15- 3:30
Date: August 1, 2009
Conditions: 80º F, clear skies, somewhat windy
Observations: Today during the first day of class we began by studying the Boston Harbor on a macro scale and proceeded to zoom in this afternoon to look at more microorganisms. We started out observing the tidal zone and a floating dock at Long Warf where we noticed the species in the tidal zone differ from those on the floating dock because those on the float dock are always under water. The type of seaweed we observed outside the water is called Phaeophyta seaweed and is a greenish brown color with bubbles filled with liquid on the ends.
Next we moved over to Rowes Warf where we spotted some muscles (dead and alive), sea lettuce, and orange tubular looking organism. I think the orange organism may be loosanoff’s haliclona but I am still a little uncertain.
Finally, we headed to the Barking Crab dock and broke off into groups to make observations. I worked with Joe and Wade, and we did our best to identify different the different species we found using both field guides. We started looking at a shady part of the dock and think that we saw bowerbank's halichondria (but it could be crumb of bread sponge), blue and green tunicate, diplosoma tunicate, star tunicate, mussels, and orange sheath tunicate. Then when we moved to the sunny part of the dock, in addition to more muscles we (think we) saw sea lettuce, red beard sponge, a giant feather duster, pacific white crust, barnacles (don't know what kind), star fish (don't know what kind), red alga, and “mystery” tunicate. The type and amount of organisms seemed to vary from the sunny side to the shady side, which leads me to believe the organisms changing on the dock from last year to this year could be due to two major factor: current and sunlight.
Due to the increase amount of rain this summer I believe the increased current has affected whether certain organisms can cling to the dock. Additionally, since there has been less sunlight due to the rainy weather, I believe fewer species have been growing on the docks. We could test both these theories by observing species at different docks which isolate one of the variables (i.e. a dock that is secluded and not affected by the current and has not received much sunlight, and a dock that has a strong current of water underneath and had a lot of sunlight… but this could be hard to find since all of the North East has had overcast skies.)

Hilary Miller

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