Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day three

On our third day of class, we met at the Marriott Long Wharf. Today, July 14, 2013, the low tide was at about 10:04 am, so we were able to observe how different the same area looked in low tide from when we saw it yesterday afternoon when it was about halfway up the sea wall. Today, because it was low tide, we were able to observe species in the intertidal zone such as rocks, seaweed, algae, and even a crab (which was later eaten by a seagull), with pretty good visibility.

As we continued our walk around the Long Wharf area of the Harbor, we stopped to observe a different part of the sea wall that was next to a floating dock. It was interesting to see how, depending on the location, the algae’s color varied from bright, vibrant green to a much darker shade of green. The color was the bright green in the places that were most exposed to the sun, and darker green in the places with less sun exposure and more water exposure.

We continued our walk along Boston Harbor and stopped to feed and watch striped bass on the south side of the Harbor, and then to the aquarium to observe some Atlantic harbor seals.

Then, we moved to an area where we went onto some docks where each group examined a pillar. My group observed that the water was fairly transparent, and we estimated that there was about four to six feet of visibility. We saw blue mussels (description below) that went fairly high on the pillars, above the water line. I speculated that perhaps they went so high because of the shifting tide. They also appeared to be more concentrated on the right side of the pillar, which was closer to the dock than to the open harbor.

A number of intertidal species were firmly planted to the pillar, which we determined could be blue mussels, sea lettuce, orange sheath tunicate, and numerous barnacles (descriptions to follow). The barnacles went almost entirely up the pillar.

We then moved on to the dock at the Barking Crab, which was also a floating dock. We observed a number of interesting species, many of which we had seen at the dock we had been to previously, which indicated to me that the species must be very common in intertidal zones in the area. My group was composed of Sarah Grose, Stephen Loughran, Yue Chan, Yahir Flores, and myself. We observed:

Sea Lettuce:
  •  Bright green and almost translucent. It had rounded fringes, and it appeared to be very thin and flowed easily along with the current.

Purple/ reddish plant:
  • This plant was one that looked like sea lettuce to us. It was very thin, and had a deep purple/ reddish color. 
  • This plant had leafy parts that were larger than the ones we observed on the sea lettuce, and they appeared to be much more rounded.

  • We saw the rockweed floating on top of the water, it floats because the rock parts of this type of seaweed are actually what appear to be pods
  • The pods are in pairs and had what felt like little rounded spikes on them
  • The rockweed were dark green and had a reddish/brown tint in certain parts

Orange Sheath Tunicate:
  • We saw the orange sheath tunicate many times from a distance throughout the day; however, we did not get to closely examine it until we got to the dock at the Barking Dog
  • The Orange Sheath Tunicate had attached itself to one of the blue mussel shells and appeared to be a bright, vibrant orange amorphous blob
  • Felt spongy, slimy, but was still had substantial strength was demonstrated by the sturdy grasp it had to the dock
  • It had a lot of little creatures living on it, the creatures looked like little mites or sea lice

Golden Star Tunicate:
  • On the shells of mussels

  •  Crusty and kind of jelly-like texture that was flat and had very tiny pores
    • Inside the pores, it looked like there were tiny, almost clear, stars in the center
  •  Appeared on the surface of the mussels and some of the plants and the flat surfaces (like seawalls and docks)
  • Opening slit in the middle, where the creature comes out of it
  • Very small, only a couple of millimeters in diameter
    • Despite their small size, they are able to maintain a very strong grip
  • When touched, the little creatures retract
  • They appear in large clusters
  • Off-white color

  • Professor Berman caught was a female, according to him
  • 7 legs in total and 2 claws
    • One of the legs appeared to have been missing, because the left side had four and the right side only had three
  • Reddish-brown underbelly and darker brown top of the shell

  • We were able to scoop up a fish in a plastic container
  • 2-3 inches long
  • The top of the fish was yellow and orange colored. It was speckled to look like a stripe
    • Silver/white underbelly
  • Very narrow body, moved quickly, and went to hide under the sea lettuce for cover. When the sea lettuce was moved aside so the fish could be observed more clearly, it would begin moving about erratically and appeared to try to jump out of the container

  • About two inches

  • Covered with barnacles and little sea creatures and vegetation
  • Attached to the walls of the dock and the pillars
  • Appeared in clusters and sometimes even piled on top of one another

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