Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sarah Grose - Blog #2

Harbor Observations-Blog #2

Today, we went into the Boston harbor to get a broad understanding of the geographical location, ecosystem diversity and layout of the islands that make up the area we will be researching. Firstly, we looked at the edge of the harbor, where the water meets the stone barriers. We discussed how the drastic nine-foot tides can be visible my simply watching the wet look on the stones themselves. Boston has such a drastic tide, that it allows for a very drastic and unique ecosystem. We exited the main harbor area, heading for Georges Island. Because of the shape and depth of the harbor, the waters are relatively calm. Because of that, our ride was very smooth. To get to Georges Island, we went past Long Island and Spectacle Island. Georges Island is a smaller island, covered mostly by Fort Warren. Even though we did not get off the boat, we were able to observe some changes. The water surrounding Georges Island was a bluer green color, while the water in the harbor was more a grey brown color. This is because of what and how much is living in the water of that area (or lack there of). The harbor is more polluted and the ecosystems more contained, while around Georges Island, there is more room for growth. For Georges Island, we traveled to Weymouth and Quincy. This is a more industrial area. This absolutely has an impact on the surrounding water and wildlife. There were fewer birds in this area than nearer to the harbor itself. On the ride back, we saw cormorants. These birds are unique in that they are diving birds that feed on creatures below the surface. Because of this, their feathers do not repel water in the same manor that other birds do, which allows them to become wet and chilled. We observed twelve to fifteen cormorants sunning themselves on an exposed wooden structure. They were all standing on the wood, drying themselves off from diving into the cold harbor water. Their presence indicates wildlife, as they are feeding on the schools of fish in the surrounding area. As we moved back towards the harbor, it was clear we were going against the wind as the ride was choppier and colder. However, the temperature differential was noticeable almost as soon as we left the harbor. After we are out of the protection of the harbor itself, there is a market ten (or so) degree difference. We did not measure this specifically, but it was a very noticeable change.

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