Thursday, July 17, 2014

Team Hashtag... My Findings


I hope everyone had a good rest after our multiple adventures. On Sunday we embarked in a hands on experience where I was able to improve my observational skills and identify multiple species that I was not familiar with. Everything started at the aquarium where we took an amazing ride on the Cultural Connector to Fan Pier Cove.
I had to post this picture. What a view!
Proposal Plan for the Fan Pier Cove
As we walked by the Boston Inner Harbor, we arrived at our destination, the good old Barking Crab. They were kind enough to let us use their docks in order to start our assignment. My team: Team Hashtag was simply incredible. I had the honor of working with Sonja, Chris, and Dan. We all found different species and collaborated with each other when it came to finding the names of each. I have to say that we were all impressed by what the ocean had to offer. There was so much that at some point we did not know what to choose from.
The dock we used to make our observations
There were nine species that I observed and that I was able to to identify:

1. The first specie was the Sea Lettuce. This type of seaweed was found in many parts of the docks that we had the opportunity to explore. As you can see from the picture above, sea lettuces were very visible to the eye and their color can grasp the attention of anybody. After some research I found that they are found year around, but they are especially visible during the summer time. Also, when they are taken out of the water to dry, their color changes from green to either Black or white.

2. The second specie that I observed was attached to the Sea Lettuce above. This little animal grabbed the attention of my entire group as it was very tiny and when we observed it with the magnifying glass we were able to observe much of its body. After doing some research and using the guide book, it was decided that this specie is called an Amphipod. Sea lettuces provide a "home" to this little creatures which is the reason there were so many of them on it. Their sizes and colors ranges from 1/4 in to 1 in long and from grey, sand color, and green. The one we observed was about .7 cm long and its colors were black and yellow. Also, most of them have arched backs, which is a characteristic we found on the amphipod.

3. The third specie is called a Blue Mussel. I found this mussel attached to the side of the dock and that is not uncommon for this type of species as most of them can be found on rocks or almost any solid object. They are long and have growth lines on them. Almost all are either blue-black or black. The one I found was black when placed in the water and the color turned a light black with some white when placed in the sun.

4 & 5. The fourth and fifth species are member of the same family and are called Golden Star Tunicate. These colonies can have different colors. The ones that I found were orange (left picture) and white (picture below). Other colors could consist of red, black, green, brown, or purple. It is very common to see a "think rubbery crust" protecting the whole colony and most of the time, they can be found on shells, rocks, or bases of sea weed. The location for both was on top of the blue mussel.

The colors in each are incredible, especially when they are in the water
6. The sixth specie, which I also found on top of the blue mussel, is called Lacy Crust Bryozoan. This is also a colony with a particular color, white. The crust is arranged individually and most of the time is round. They are located in surfaces of other species like seaweeds and mussels and are very common in low tide lines or shallow waters.

7. The seventh specie was one of the three animals we saw when Professor Berman pulled the fishing cage out of the water. This animal is called an Atlantic Rock Crab. They are mostly reddish with short legs and from my observations this particular crab had some white on its bottom, which is a common description for them. When I was reading the guide, it mentioned how this crab enters "lobster pots" and many lobster-men considered this crab a bait-stealer. No wonder this little guy or girl was among the fishing cage.

8. The eight specie was the second out of the three from the fishing cage. This animal is called a Common Spider Crab. I have to say that this animal grabbed my attention by the texture and color of its shell. These crabs are known to have a much more circular shell with a , from my perspective, dried cement texture to it. They are well known by their long legs, colors, and little spiny shells. Males tend to grow much larger than females and they are found mostly in harbors, rocky shores and bay bottoms.

9. The last specie I observed was a well known animal here in New England, a North Atlantic Lobster. These lobsters are also known as "The American Lobster" or the "Massachusetts Lobster." They range in colors from orange (the one I saw was this color), greenish-brown, grey, light yellow, and even blue! These lobsters are found in the east cost of North America and many of them eat fresh food like fish and clams. One thing I do have to mention is that I was amazed of how calm the lobster got once our classmate Chris started to put him to sleep (assuming it was a male after Professor Berman advised us that most females have v-notched on their tails so lobster-men do take them as is illegal in MA). Most of these lobsters live or hide in sea weeds and rocky habitats in order to protect themselves from predators and have enough food resources. 

Required Guide Books

Daniela Baeza-Prepetit

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