Sunday, July 14, 2013

Exploring the Docks of Boston Harbor- Coulter Bailey

Today in Snails to Whales, our class walked around different parts of Boston Harbor starting at the Marriott Long Wharf, and ended up at the Barking Crab Restaurant. As an introduction to the day, we began by looking at the harbor next to the Marriott Long Wharf to get a feel for what lives on the rocks, on the shore, and in the water. Looking at the rocks, we saw green seaweed, or rock weed, that actually attaches itself and lives on the rocks. There was also red seaweed, but we only saw it in the water, and there wasn't as much as the green seaweed. We were also treated to nature at its finest, as we saw a seagull attacking and eating a crab.
Photo Credit: StevieMarie LaMonica
After seeing this primal event, we continued on down along the water stopping to look at more marine life. One thing we learned about seaweed was that seaweed that receives more sunlight but less water, becomes much brighter, and healthier than seaweed that is more in the shade, and more in the water.

We also spotted a family of mallards shedding their winter insulation feathers, and preparing themselves for summer.
Photo Credit: SteveMarie LaMonica
Shortly after seeing the mallards, we met a boy and his mom who were throwing bread in the water to attract striped bass. Deciding to do the experiment ourselves, we moved down the dock and actually managed to have several striped bass come up to the surface. It was definitely a cool site to see striped bass coming out of the water surrounded by the dock and large boats to eat some stale bread.

After these stops, we wound up on the docks by the Barking Crab where we broke into groups, and looked at marine life more closely. Here, we laid down on the dock looking into the water and seeing what was growing on the pillars and floating dock at the waterline. Able to take pictures, and make notes, we found several interesting species living below the surface. Some of the water life included blue mussels that had seaweed, Golden Star Tunicate, as well as Orange Sheath Tunicates growing off of the blue mussels. We also saw many barnacles, which seemed to be Northern Rock Barnacles that were growing mostly on the pillars themselves. It was cool to see the barnacles up so close, and see how they attach to the pillars.
Northern Rock Barnacles

The blue mussels were very interesting, as they had many living organisms living on them. Some of these included the Golden Star Tunicates and Orange Sheath Tunicates, as well as the Red-eyed Amphipod, which look like tiny shrimp crawling around the mussels. Unfortunately, they died shortly after being out of the water, but it was cool to see how they were attached to the blue mussels living off the nutrients.

Outside of Blue Mussel

Inside of Blue Mussel
Another picture of the blue mussel that looks like a fish's head!

Outside of Blue Mussel
The orange stuff that is on the outside of the blue mussel in this picture is the Orange Sheath Tunicate, which grows in colonies, and usually lives off different organisms.

This day marked the beginning of the scientific portion of the class, as we investigated organisms much more closely, made observations on what we saw, and took phenomenal pictures of anything that interested us.

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