Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cold and wet and grrrrrrrrreatt

The Safari attended the Shoresearch course today, nice and cosy in the training room bitingly cold and soppingly wet on the beach but lots of good stuff and some we've never seen before!
After an introduction to recording methodology we were let loose with quadrats on the sea wall. Our group randomly through ours and it fell in the pool which had been left a bit murky by the falling tide. We had to reposition it slightly and it included a small cluster of Sabellaria (top left corner) which at the time we recorded as you would but later realised this was a new occurrence as we almost invariably find it growing in the pools not between them - fascinating stuff that needs further investigation!

 Barnacles still baffle us but at least we now have a key to work from. The green stuff is Gut Weed - Enteromorpha sp.

 Most of these are Semibalanus balanoides.

 A large wadge of discarded fishing net was tangled with several species of seaweed including a frond of Sugar Kelp so it's drifted quite away. but perhaps more interesting were the tiny colonies of a Bryozoan we were shown settle on there.
Not the best of pics but those holes you can see are probably less than 0.1mm across! The whole star shaped colony was about the size of your thumbnail.
Back in the training room we found another tiny Hydroid growing on the Hornwort, itself a Bryozoan and not a seaweed.

This one growing on a Necklace shell we've had in our collection for ages, known as Hedgehog Hydroid, possibly this one.

The afternoon, very wet, session found us a Nudibranch, Onchidoris bilamellata. we've never seen it before but is that because it only occurs at this time of year for some reason and we don't spend much time looking or is a new colonist???

 Finally back in the lab we were shown this tropical shell found on the beach not far away from here - How'd that get there? Dropped by someone deliberately to confuse from a collection they'd brought back, come in with ballast water in a ship or floated across the Atlantic Ocean naturally???

Another foreigner was the American Curved Razor, never seen that before but it was accidentally discarded before we could get a pic. One of the 'Acorn' Barnacles is an Australian species.
Several Spirobis encrusting worms were also found.
Never seen a live (or at least very recently dead Sea Urchin here before either!)

All we need to do now is keep recording - lots of stuff to find!
And if you haven't yet signed the Petition Fish we would urge you to do so soon to convince the  greenest government ever into declaring a sensible number of Marine Protected Areas.
Where to next? A cold miserable day is forecast tomorrow and it looks like we have Wifey's car to fix rather than going out on safari.
In the meantime let us know what's lurking in quadrats in your outback

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