Sunday, July 13, 2014

Assignment 2 Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Our first field assignment was to Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands. Throughout Boston’s history the Harbor has been a vital part of Boston’s and New England’s economic growth and expansion. 

The objective of the exercise was to observe the different types of species that inhabit Harbor and the surrounding Islands. 

We moved from the Marriot Long Wharf Hotel to the steel and concrete Long Wharf. The Wharf today, is a major tourist attraction that generates millions of dollars in revenue for both the City of Boston and surrounding businesses in the areas. 

My first observation of the area was of the amount of people both working and enjoying the attractions on the Harbor. The Ocean has always attracted people both for economic and recreational reasons.

View of the Custom House from Long Wharf
Along the route we moved to the New England Aquarium’s dock were there boats loading and unloading people who were starting or ending whale watch trips. Between the actual Long Wharf and the gangways leading to the boats we saw jellyfish (both alive and dead) floating by.
The Moon jellyfish is circular like a parachute with appendages/tentacles that seem to extend from the bottom of the fish. It is milky, almost opaque in color. The Moon jellyfish was observed throughout the Wharf and Harbor. The Moon Jellyfish is the most common jellyfish in the World.
Source:  New England Aquarium
In the same pool of water several Striped Bass were observed feeding on bread thrown from people in the crowd. It was hard to determine the exact number of Stripers feeding due to the murky color of the water. The Stripers observed were approximately 30 to 40 inches in length and weighed anywhere between 14 to 29 pounds. 

Two Stripped Bass feeding on bread thrown from the crow
Source: Massachusetts Audubon
We moved to the opposite of the Wharf to an area that was out of the direct sunlight and somewhat block from the wind. We came upon a marina’s office/club tied up to the dock. Along the side of the office (the section that was under water) two different types of algae was observed, one was light green in color and looked like lettuce. The other was a darker green and looked like parsley. Also clinging to the sides was an orange, mushroom like looking growth.  Two different types of kelp were observed, one looked to be a Hollow-Stemmed Kelp (a similar species of the Common Southern Kelp). The other I could not identify without closer observation.
Source: Gosner, K. (1979).  Peterson Field Guide, A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. Boston, MA, New York, NY:  Houghton Mifflin Company
We moved along the Wharf to a tidal pool (the tide was out at this point), again different types of algae, seaweed (Rockweed) and what appeared to be barnacles. Also observed were two ducks sitting on the rocks. One was a Male Mallard with its distinct greenish head, and what appeared to be a Female Mallard.

Source: Massachusetts Audubon
From the tide pool we moved to the boat that we would take for a tour of the Harbor and the Islands. We left the dock at approximately 3:00 PM. We would not be disembarking at any the locations the boat would dock. Our first stop was Georges Island then to Hingham Harbor on to Hull back to Georges Island then a stop in East Boston/Logan International Airport then to our original location-Long Wharf. We arrived at approximately 5:00 PM, which concluded our introduction to Boston Harbor and the surrounding Islands.

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