Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lovells Island

Sunday, we went to Lovells Island via the ferry to Georges Island then to Lovells. I have been to Georges before, but I had never taken a trip to Lovells. We all met at the Long Wharf ferry terminal and hopped on a catamaran ferry that was powered by jet drives. This thing flew. We made it to Georges in no more than 15 minutes. I think we could have made it quicker, but we had to slow down for sailboats a few times. We then boarded a smaller boat for the trip to Lovells. We arrived around 10ish and it was already low tide. We then made our way to the tide pools and stopped to eat some delicious blackberries along the way. Upon making it to the beach on the north west side of the island, I noticed that there were 2 large jetties that appeared to be feet high a their highest point. There were two large tidal pools with one being farther out towards the harbor. The farther tidal pool was the deeper/ colder of the two.

We then split up into groups of two and proceeded to investigate the tide pools. In the first tide pool, I noticed hundreds and hundreds of what looked like snails. Upon further investigation, we determined that these were periwinkles (which i learned were invasive). We later observed that these periwinkles would come out of their shell and roam around on your hand if you stayed very still. Prof. Berman suggested that we sing to them, but I did not find favorable results when trying this. We then continued to the farther tidal pool and this is where I saw what appeared to be an asian shore crab and a baby lobster. I did not find the lobster but I got a good look at it and I'm confident that it was indeed a lobster. The asian shore crab was a male because of its pointed tail thingy and Prof. Berman said that females had more of a wide triangle tail thingy. We also saw what looked like a green crab scurrying around. Prof. Berman also pointed out a orange thingy that sucked water in one end and squirted it out the other end. I am not sure what this was but I believe it was some kind of tunicate. I did, However, see an orange sheath tunicate and a bunch of minnows as well. Finally, we saw the slipper shells which were all over the island and had holes in them. I wanted to be the first to get the answer as to why these had holes in them, but I guess I am posting this too late. In any event, Hilary is right, the holes are from whelks. they eat the animal by using their radula to bore holes in the shells.

The animals we saw were different than at the barking crab because we looked at animals that dwell on the ocean bottom or on sandy surfaces rather than those that like in a habitat like the one underneath the dock. The animals that were in at the Barking Crab were more resilient and were able to feed off things that floated by in the current. The animals at lovells were in a more fragile eco system and would probably not survive in the polluted and choppy inner harbor.

The snails we saw in the trees and on the rock were grove snails. Although I have seen seagulls drop snails onto things to break them open, I think that these snails were on the rock by their own choice. I think they were either eating something on the rock or maybe traveling in a pack to another destination. Who knows....maybe they are forming a little snail wolf pack? They differ from the ocean snails in several ways. first, the land snails had much more vibrant colors on them. I believe this was to help them blend in with the surrounding flora. Second, the grove snails had heavier shells. I believe this was to protect them in the event that they fall out of a tree or are dropped by a seagull that is trying to break them open. Finally, the grove snails were easily coaxed from their shells while the periwinkles were much more apprehensive. I believe this is because the periwinkles could sense that they were not in water (their natural habitat) while the grove snails couldn't tell that they were in danger or that anything was awry.

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