Thursday, July 19, 2012

and what did we see? we saw the sea.

At 10:30 we started our walk along the wharves.  While the water was quite high, it was a falling tide.  We could make this assumption because the rocks above the waterline were wet, suggesting that the water has just been there unlike if the tide were rising the rocks would be dry.

We started off our little walk on Long wharf observing the difference between ecosystems.  We observed two distinctly different tidal environments.  The first environment demonstrated the tide going in and out.  As the tide went out more rock was exposed.  Professor Berman explained an easy way of telling weather the tide was rising or falling.  If the rock is dry above the waterline the tide is coming in, if it is wet, it is because the water is going out.  Its a pretty simple way of telling what the tide is doing, common sense really.  The other environment we observed was the underside of multiple floating docks.  These floating docks rise and fall with the vertical tide.    While both areas had some level of plant life going there, the floating docks had a much more diverse and plentiful collection of plant and animal life to study.  

When we arrived at the wharf the tide was falling.  It was around 10:30 am.  The area we first observed was by where the big ferries departed from.  Here we could observe the tide going out.  As the tide went out it exposed stone steps and a gravel/ muddy floor.  Attached to the stone was a whole lot of this brownish greenish weed I later discovered was Rockweed.  Prof Berman said this si a good kind of seaweed to see growing in the harbor because it indicated that the water is clean.  If the water has too many nutrients (aka human waste) in it, this kind of rockweed can not grow.

Then we wandered over by the Aquarium where we looked into the tank.  There we saw a couple Atlantic harbor seals.  The rocks in this tank were similarly covered with green mossy stuff and other weeds.  The thing that captured my attention most was the Atlantic purple sea urchin at the bottom of the tank.  Its vibrant purple color and its long spikes were spectacular!

On the Floating docks out along the wharves and by the Barking Crab I observed a Blue Mussel

**What is the red jelly stuff inside this mussel?  A tunicate?

Golden star tunicate

Orange sheath Tunicate

Orange sheath Tunicate is visible in this photo along with a lovely piece of Green Sea Lettuce

Hollow Green Weeds- I saw this vibrant green specimen floating in the corner of a boat slip down by the Barking Crab.  According to Gosner's guidebook, This weed typically is found on rocks, dead shells or wood in intertidal areas, he also notes that this weed can float freely as well.*  This is consistent with my observation of this particular specimen    just as the name describes, this weed is indeed hollow.  The air bubbles make it possible for the  weed to float.
*Gosner, Kenneth L. A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Print.

On the left hand side of this picture  you can see Irish Moss.  Again, another species that lives in intertidal areas attached to rocks and other solid stationary things.  According to Gosner this weed can come in various colors from green, brown, red to white.  I wonder if we will see this again in different colors? There's a lovely piece of green Sea Lettuce  here too.  YUM!

In my observation of the intertidal areas (Rose wharf + Barking Crab) There was an abundance of this bushy redish brown plant.  Its seems plausable that this species I am thinking of is the Banded weed but I did not take sufficient enough notes to confirm that, bummer.  I also am not sure if I got a clear enough picture to study.  (learned my lesson, will do a better job next time)  From the remedial knowledge of this specimen I do have, I can hypothesize that it is banded weed.  In cross reverencing my notes and Gosner's guide book, it seems that this particular weed is common along the coast and are typically found in intertidal zones.    

<-----------------Redish brownish fauna ----------------->

After looking at my pictures and zooming way way in, I found some interesting things that I think are Vase Sponges.  I observed tiny vase like little sponges in this picture.  The guidebook's description of these species seems to be congruent with what I see in the picture.  Appearing to exist in clusters, these tiny sponges seem to fit Gosner's categorization.  

                           White cylindrical things -------------------->

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