Monday, July 16, 2012

So much to see in the sea


Hello All,

We set out on our second day searching the Boston Harbor. After getting a brief overview of the macro prospective of the Harbor, we today observed and discussed the micro organisms that can be found at different points of the tide in and around then docks. We learned how to use our guidebooks to assist us with making identifications off our clear and concise observations. We started our journey at about 10am with a temperature reaching 90 degrees. We went back to the original spot we looked at before the harbor ride yesterday, and we also looked at a few other spots on the water. It was interesting to see between the spots what different creatures live at different tide points, and what creatures will be found in places that will always be in the water (the floating docks) versus the places were during a tide they may be covered with water or dry. We observed species ranging from sea squirts, to barnacles, to birds, and sea creatures. It was difficult to make observations on some of the species because of the different colors they all present, and the change in behavior they had from being in the water to out. I made my best effort to attempt to label each one of the carefully taken pictures from our adventures today.

1.) Smooth Skeleton Shrimp - In this short clip you can see the skeleton shrimp moving around on the piece of dock rope. I came to the conclusion that they were skeleton shrimp by the shape of their body, as well as the size in comparison to the tip of my pen.

2.) Scud - In this picture I have a green scud. I came up with the conclusion that this was a scud based on the body position of the species, as well as the defense mechanism to curl up in a ball. It also was the correct side at about an inch in length.

3.) Sea Lettuce - you can tell by the different branches of this weed that look similar to a head of lettuce. They float independently and collect near the base of a shallow tide zone.

4.) Rockweed Gunnel - This was floating around the docks in shallow areas. It allowed us to observe whether the tide was coming in or going out. The sacs on the end of the leaf are air sacs allowing the rock weed to float. When dry the rockweed looks more brown then green.

5.) Blood Drop Tunicate - This sea squirt spit water at us as a defense mechanism when we pulled it out of the water. It lived in the protected areas under the dock. It had a slimy sac on the outside protecting the creature.

6.) Red-Eyed Amphipod - In the video seen in species 1 we can also see other living organisms on that rope. One of these organisms is the Amphipod, which is a tan/clear shrimp type organism that you can see digging into the mussels and algae.

7.) Minnows - This I am not sure on, I have been having trouble locating much information on smaller fishlike creatures in both the field guide and online. I keep coming up with the stripped bass which Chris was so gracious to show us earlier today as well.

8.) Green Crab - This crab was just hanging out on one of the chains attaching the dock. It was not still like some of the other wildlife, and it also we not clumped together on the base of the dock to gain protection from the tides.

9.) Smooth Burrowing Anemone - I know it is difficult to see them in this photo, I had to attempt to get a picture while it was underwater because once they were pulled out they burrowed themselves back in and were hidden in the seaweed. They had a shaft like body with hair like tentacles on top. They had themselves attached to the mussels.

10.) Golden Star Tunicate - This was on the lower end of the tide zone, still in shallow water, but it showed up further down the rope then many of the different weeds shown before. With its interesting and unique design it was easily able to be identified. 

11.) Orange Tunicate

12.) Club Tunicate

When comparing the picture of the docks from last year that is up on blackboard to the docks we saw today, the biggest difference I can see is the larger amount of life there seems to be on the dock. The species seem to stack on top of each other more and create a more colorful display. There are a few hypotheses that I have for this fact, first off that they had recently cleaned the docks, even if they had not scraped this exact docks, they may still have been effected by the change in enviornment. The other possibility is the increasingly warm weather and lack of a winter we had this year. These creatures may need time to hibernate and fester during the winter. This winter is mocked a summer like atmosphere for longer slightly changing life cycles.

I very much enjoyed our journey today, and I look forward to continuing tomorrow as we embark on our expedition to Peddock's Island. 

Trevor O'Leary

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