Thursday, 29 March 2012

Looking amongst the strandline ....

The strandline is comprised of material deposited by the waves as the tide rises and falls. The strandline extent and composition can vary spatially and temporally. Look amongst the strandline and you will find a mix of living marine organisms and their remains.

Examples of strandlines . . . . .

Whelk egg masses, Bryozoa and Hydrozoa

 Hydrozoa, Bryozoa and sparse Rhodophtya
Rhodophtya, Hydrozoa and Bryozoa

Limpets and wrack

Cuttlefish and wrack

Friday, 23 March 2012

Looking amongst the rocks....

Rocks and boulders provide a hard substrate upon which marine organisms can colonise and grow, additionally when the tide is out they act as refugees by providing shade and shelter.

Common limpets (Pattella vulgata) congregate in the shade of boulder overhangs

Look beneath boulder overhangs, in crevices and on the undersides of small boulders to observe the under-boulder communities comprised of fishes, molluscs, crustaceans, cnidarians, sponges, bryozoans and polychaetes worms.

Under-boulder community

Green shore crab (Carcinus maenas) found under a boulder

Blenny (Lipophyrys pholis) found under a boulder

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Looking amongst the algae......

There are a variety of organisms that you can see whilst rock pooling. Marine algae are the most obvious; look among and under the fronds to reveal the understory communities comprised of molluscs, crustaceans, cnidarians, sponges, bryozoans and polychaetes worms.
Flat periwinkle (Littorina sp) amongst Fucoid fronds.

Kelp, are marine algae which develop holdfasts inorder to attach to rock. Inspect the holdfasts of washed up kelp and you will discover organisms living within the holdfast.

Blue rayed limpet (Patella pellucida), Wart Barnacle (Verruca stroemia) 
and bivalves of the family Anomiidae.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Where to look...

Marine life can be observed from all UK coasts but the best places to start looking for marine organisms are where there are rock pools.

Why rock pools?
Rock and other hard surfaces provide a place where marine organisms can settle and live, whilst pools can act as temporary refuges whilst the tide is out.  As more organisms colonise the hard substrates and rock pools they themselves modify the environment enabling more marine organisms to be supported.