Saturday, July 26, 2014

Catherine Zhang -- Field Trip to Lovelles Island Assginment 1: Drawing and Naming

            Last Friday, we went to the field trip to the Lovells Island. It is a fairly small island which is smaller than the half size of Long Island. It is on the east side of Boston Harbor. We took a private boat behind the Barking Crab Restaurant and go to the island. The boat owner is Charlie, nice awesome guy who has been living on the boat for 4 years. From Charlie’s introduction of himself, I know that he and his wife own the boat, does wedding, festival celebrating fishing and other things on the boat to make a living. He also told us this year’s water is colder than last year, on Friday it was 56 Fahrenheit.
The weather on Friday was sunny and windy on the boat. Around the time of 10:30, the tide was coming up, because you can see in the picture, the wood fences near our boat shows it has 8 visible pieces fences we can see. Charlie showed us the top two pieces are dry and clean which means they probably never under the water. The third piece is mostly covered by fresh green moss which means it always reached by water but it barely goes under the water. But the 7th piece which is next to the water has a lot of seaweed growing on it. It means that it has its most time under the water every day and water plants even grow on it. It means at that moment the water was low and the tide was coming and the fences would be covered by water.
As soon as the boat started, Bruce, our professor, started to tell us that we will catch some fish and observe them, and then we will go to the Lovells Island. He first showed us sea worms, which are grate bait for fish. After research, I found that the sea worms are Clam Worms (Nereis Virens). This type of huge nasty worm can be as long as 21 inches and 0.5 inch wide. It has long round bodies with many tiny orange legs (Parapodium) on the side. Its back is dark green as beneath is light red or orange. It has so many segments that I can’t count. From the guide book, it says it has 200 segments! It usually stays in sand or mud on the bottom of protected water or brackish estuaries. Interestingly, this worm bites people since it has tentacles, mouth and black jaws; we can see it twists its body and uses its mouth to bite the person who is holding it. 

On the way to the Lovells Island, we stopped at one area and used the clam worm to fish. The first fish we caught was a Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata). It is about 15 inches long. It is mostly grey with beautiful blue or green color on the top of its spine. It has sharp striped dorsal fins which are almost connected to the caudal fin (black with white spots on it and white edge). It also has one pair of anal fins and a pair of pelvic fin and pectoral fins. Its upper lip is dark blue or grey as the lower lip is white.  It is very surprising that sea basses are born as girls and later in their years they will turn to boys. The first black sea bass we found is just about turning female to male. From the website of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), I know black sea bass are omnivorous that it feeds on invertebrates, squids and other smaller fish. I also caught a black sea bass. But because it hasn’t reached its maturity, I had to release it.
Then my classmates caught another type of fish. There are two of them; the smaller one is about 12 inches long and the bigger one is about 16 inches long. It is round and flat with light green scales and a red fan-shaped tail. It also has even fins on the edges. The fish is really odd that it has only one side filled with scales and brown spots, and other pinky-white side is smooth without any scales. But the eyes are both on the scale side of the fish, and its mouth opens on the left side of the body. I think it means the fish usually stays on the bottom of the sea as it swims sideways when it can be aware of other living things above it. After searching the NOAA again, I realize that the bigger fish may be the Yellowtail Flounder (Limanda ferruginea) and smaller fish is Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) because we can see in the picture that the bigger fish has brighter, red color and less spots than the smaller fish which has more dark brown areas on its body. Flounders feed on smaller fish, different types of sea worms and crustaceans.       
Also my classmates caught two smaller fishes of same type and they are about 8 inches long. It has a huge mouth which compares to Flounder’s mouth or Black Sea Bass’ mouth. Its body is really thin. It also has huge eyes with a yellow circle outside and a black eye ball inside. On the upper part of its body, it is grey with dark brown spots on it; the color started to fade while getting close to the belly and finally it turns out to be silver-colored. Its tail and fins are dark grey or green. So also from the NOAA website, I found this type of fish is Silver Hake (Merluccius bilinearis). It is interesting that the Silver Hake usually stays on the bottom of the sea which is sandy, muddy during the daytime and comes out during midnight to feed on semi-pelagic predators.
The final fish species we had caught is the Atlantic Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis). As soon as I saw the strips on its body, the big belly, long and huge size of it, I know it is Striped Bass. From the professor, we know we cannot keep the striped bass shorter than 28 inches. So when the TA caught the striped bass which is 23 inches, she had to put it back to the ocean. But when another classmate finally got the one which is 38 inches long, we kept it! That Atlantic Striped Bass is so beautiful and huge. It is almost as long as a human being and I think there is no problem that a fist can fit in its mouth. The upper part of the fish is dark grey or green with black strips all the way down as the background color fades to white.

Since we were still having class and our mission is to get the Lovells Island, we had to stop fishing and leave. The island is one of the Boston Harbor Islands and a national park area. It is long and round shape with a lot of greens on it. The beach is rocky instead of sandy. As tides come in and go back during different time period of the day, the shore forms up different tide pools as they are tiny pools as tides come in and then dry out as tides go down. On the island, we also found many different species in these tide pools near the shore. 照片
On the way to the tide pool, we saw the wrack zone between the land and the ocean. It is the place where the highest tide hits the beach. We saw just by the ocean, there are rocks, sand, dry seaweed and then grass by orders. The dry seaweed was brought up by the tide and left on the shore. 
First thing I found here is something looking like sea snails. This soft creature is living in the dark brown or grey spiral shell with waves along it. It is about 0.8 inch. The inside body structure of the snail is as same as one snail we see in the garden. But in additional, it also has a piece of operculum which protects it from drying out or being eaten by other predators. I found them all over the rocks in the saltwater in the pools. After I looked them up, they are actually Common Periwinkles (Littorina littorea). From the Hichhikers' poster, it says it has"shells usually dark, transverse black stripes on tentacles, poorly developed sutures on whorls"They feed on diatoms and algae which attach on the rocks. 
On almost every rock, I saw a lot of barnacles. these barnacles are much smaller than the ones we found on the blue mussels near the Fanpier area. Most of these barnacles are same size and they almost connect to each other. I think they are Northern Rock Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides) since the pieces of plates are too many to count for me. Since I didn't take a picture from it, I searched online about "boston harbor lovells island barnacles" and one good picture took me back to the blog. This picture actually comes from one post in the blog 4 years ago! Again from the Hichhikers' poster, it says it is "the most common New England intertidal barnacle." From Website Lloyd Center for Environment Studies, I know that barnacles are hermaphrodites, which means they are both males and females in their bodies.

I also found many tiny crabs in the tidal pool. It is about 0.9 inch wide without legs. Its back is dark green, they walk sideways. There are thick strips on the legs with spots. The body of the crab is square shape. I think these little guys are Asian shore crabs (Hemigrapsus sanguineus). They have "bended legs, red sports on claws." It has different colors as I saw at the same tidal pool. 

I also saw a green worm when my classmate flipped over. It is similar to sea worms with smaller size. It is really greenish and crawled on the rock. I think it is Green Paddle Worm ( Eulalia viridis).  It can crawl over the rocks as I saw on the shore, and it also can swim. It is about 4 inches. long.

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