Saturday, May 21, 2016

Raven Desacia Blog post

Pounding waves and large rocks teeming with barnacles, mollusks, and anemones; all characteristics of the rocky intertidal.  Scattered amongst the rocky surface that seems barren at first glance are various different lifeforms camouflaged from sight.As the sea creeps in slowly the tide pools slowly become teeming with life as the sea creatures become more bold and curious.

Tucked beneath a rock and almost alien like in appearance is the invertebrate sponge (porifera) this harmless creature that looks lifeless at first glance is unique in the fact that it contains no tissues or organs,  but rather is a conglomeration of different specialized cells that all work collectively to keep it alive. 

Moving up from the simplicity of the sponge is the echinoderm or rather in this specific case of the rocky intertidal we observed today is the sun star. This sun star is a bit more complex in that it has a much more organized structure and gathered in the very center is a mouth. The cilia all bristling the bottom of the sun star all work to push prey into the stars mouth to be digested.  These particular animals are carnivorous and like to prey upon mussels, oysters and other bivalves. The sunstar functions as a key member in the intertidal community,  slowly working to maintain the diversity of the aquatic life dwelling there. 

One of the more interesting animals we observed was a member of the arthropoda classification,  we were able to find a small shrimp. This particular kind of shrimp (pistol) has a one larger claw that it uses to create a loud snapping sound to encourage predators to release it from its grasp. An interesting tidbit about this shrimp is that like the brittle star if this shrimp lose's it's snapping claw,  it will grow back it back,  but on the opposite side. 

There's a large difference between the rocky intertidal that we observed today,  in comparison to the intertidal that we observed in front of CEDO. The obvious difference being the presence of large rocks,  whereas the one in front of CEDO being a collection of coral like surfaces and sandy interludes. The sea life in the sandy areas were more present and easy to observe whereas the animals within the rock intertide ticked themselves away from sunlight and other predators.  

I'm looking forward to observing the estuary, as well as the large sea mammals out on bird island,  the area is incredibly diverse holding many incredible creatures with one purpose:to survive and as humans dive deeper into the water it's the one moment when they stop being at the top of the food chain.
              Raven Desacia

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