Saturday, August 1, 2009

Today was so much fun! First of all, I am so proud of myself (my stomach) for not getting seasick and am excited I might be able to enjoy boating now.  It was so cool to be able to see Boston and the rest of the Islands while on the boat.  It made me really appreciate living here!  When we first got off the boat we stopped at our first observation, which was at the tidal pool, which has very low tide.  There we noticed the seaweed was black and I was interested to learn that ten years ago it was not there because of the water quality being so unhealthy.  The second stop we made an observation about was on the floating dock, which is submerged in water and close to the sun, attracting many different species.  When we observed one of the poles holding up the dock we noticed that about four feet below sea level was something orange growing on it in different areas.  It looked very spongy and like something that would be fun to touch. Under the dock were tons of barnacles and mussels.  I picked one up and it felt slimy and delicate.  I opened it and unfortunately, found a ton of little bugs, which I later identified as being a Mottled Tube-Maker.   After being kicked off the dock we walked a short distance to the mouth of the Fort Point Channel.  Professor Berman explained that the water around the area is "brackish" water, meaning it is a mix of salt and fresh water.   Our last spot was the best for observations and I think we were really able to grasp what it means to truly observe. Here we also worked in groups, mine being Dave, Larisa, Alexandra and Leona. It was clear that observing is not just a minute glance but that it's about touching and waiting a while looking at the same thing to notice new observations and maybe even new bugs!   Alexandra luckily brought plastic bags and put different samples in them, making it easier for us to observe.  Immediately we noticed tons of tiny bugs similar to the ones I had seen before in our second observation.  At first we identified the tiny bugs as being tiny shrimp or arthropod but then after looking through our guidebook found them to be most similar to the Mottled tube-maker.  We also had a sample of the spongy, orange almost seaweed that we thought was most like, in description and in its physical appearance, the Red beard sponge.

When I looked at the Hitchhikers Guide and trying to identify what resembled something we looked at today I noticed the Green Fleece Alga and immediately recognized it.  I remember it feeling really goopy and slimy.  As I look at the picture posted taken last summer I notice a lot of differences from what we saw today.  The water appears to be a lot lighter in last years photo, which could be due to the rainy weather, and as we learned today that rain changes the salinity of the water and creates stronger currents and the clarity of the water goes down.  You can definitely also see a lot more native and invasive species in last summer’s photo.

         Today was great, excited for tomorrow!


Chloe Katz

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