Sunday, July 15, 2012

My day with Seaweed

Today we spent the day at the docks, mostly lying horizontal, and looking at what we found attached to these docks. I was surprised at what we found! I will try to list some of the moments that stood out for me most. I was surprised to discover that when I plucked a piece of the dark leafy green seaweed off of the dock, it actually had tons of little tiny critters squirming around on them. These little critters looked like worms at first, but at a closer observation, you could see legs and almost antennae. I think they might have been vary young shrimp or maybe lobsters. Whatever they were, they had a prehistoric look to them, almost like they could have been tiny dinosaurs. Another cool moment was plucking off the mussels, also attached to the docks, in clusters, they too had tons of these squirmy things feeding off of them. It almost made me want to eat the seaweed- it looked so nutritious! I guess it was also pretty neat to discover that when you look closer and then, even closer, there were many different kinds of species of seaweed, contrary to what i assumed upon my first glance. There are Kale- like looking seaweeds, flat-ripply looking seaweeds, coniferous tree-looking seaweeds, spongy-mossy seaweeds, red seaweeds, furry -red looking seaweeds, and two-toned seaweeds, and then the very first seaweed we looked at when we started, had
bulbous ends that, when you squirt them, show they contain a clear gel-like liquid. Yummmmmmm!

We started our investigation at about 10, and we could see that the tide had already started to fall. The wind was blowing NorthEast, bringing in what looked like either pollen or maybe oil in swirls upon the water. We observed two diving birds......who knew that supper was just down below. I would say another highlight was when our classmate pulled the rope out of the water ( she was strong) and we observed clumps and clumps of fowling organisms clustered heavily along the rope and moving in all different ways. The ocean produces interesting choreography- even seaweed undulates. Another stand-out moment was when Professor Berman  through, first whole wheat bread out to the surface of the water, and then white flour hotdog buns...apparently striped bass prefer junk food cuz they went for the white flour bread. WOW! And they were BIG- approximately 28 inches long.

So now i will attempt to identify specifically ten of the many different species we saw today:

1.Rockweed- this was the dark leafy seaweed that had the sacs at the end filled with the clear gel.

2.Golden Star turnicate- this was the seaweed with purply white dottie flower looking pattern on it

3.Periwinkle- these were the orangy bulbous looking things

4. california mussels ( i am guessing this is the type of mussel we saw mostly- smooth and black on the outside

5.minnows- cute little buggers

6.Orange Sheathe Turnicate- that was the orange mysterious corally- looking piece

7.sea lettuce- looks just like what you would think- green and flat and leafy

8.spangomorpha- i beg your pardon....

9, green seafern- at least that's what i am guessing- because it was seaweed that looked like a fern, the plant

10. Longhorn skeleton shrimp- isn't this what those tiny little squirmy critters were?

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