Saturday, July 18, 2009

Adventuring in tide pools... Part 1

Tide pools are some of my favorite places to explore. The best ones are teeming with life and ripe for personal disccovery. I have heard many astronomers describe the first time they looked up at the sky and saw Saturn or Mars, feeling a sense of awe as if they were the first person to discover it. I feel this way each time I turn over a rock and find a crab or a sea star. Today I got to spend a couple of hours in tide pools on Appledore Island about 6 miles off the coast of Southern Maine.

At one point I pulled up a large seaweed, Laminaria digitata to be precise (I was collecting for a class, otherwise I wouldn't removed it) and with it came the rock that its holdfast was attached to. On the bottom of the rock were two brittle stars, an urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) a mussel shell with a curled up fish inside, and a few snails (Littorina littorea). A whole micro-ecosystem in one tug! I have to admit that this is at the top of my list of tide pool finds.

The image above is where I was collecting. I am heading up to the lab now and I will try to take a pictures of some of what we collected.

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