Monday, April 29, 2013

Tide Pool Collecting, April 2013

Another low tide, another opportunity for a Science Center team to collect interesting animals and artifacts for our Puget Sound Saltwater Tide Pool.

On Saturday, April 27th a sturdy group of collectors, permit in-hand, hit the cloudy beaches. This time our crew was comprised of Animal Caretakers Chris Russell and Maida Ingalls, Animal Care Intern Morgan, and Science on Wheels Instructor Andrea Rockwood.

While out on the sandy beach, they were able to collect (as allowed by our Fish and Wildlife permit) a variety of marine organisms. Here's a round-up of what they brought back:

4 - Moon Snail egg cases
Moon snails create an egg case using a combination of mucous and sand, laying their eggs in this mixture that then hardens up and often gets confused for trash. They chose not to bring back any actual moon snails due to the animal's aggressive appetite for anemones and other sea life we house in our Tide Pool.

14 – Sea Anemones
They also came back with several different species of sea anemones, including aggregate anemones (which like to clump together in large numbers on rocks on the beach), plumose anemones (which look like feather dusters), and a single green anemone.

5 – Burrowing Sea Cucumbers
They were lucky find so many sea cucumbers! These animals are usually hard to collect because of their ability to cling onto rocks and quickly burrow into the sand.

1 - Hairy Gill Worm
The team also came across a hairy gill worm, a new animal for the tide pool! We all look forward to learning more about this strange animal.

Other animals collected include fifteen hermit crabs, five ochre sea stars, barnacles on rocks, some chitons and limpets, shelled invertebrates that have survived for hundreds of thousands of years!

When you visit sea life at the beach, remember to leave animals where you find them and as you found them. Lifting rocks can be especially hurtful to the animals living below. And the next time you visit Pacific Science Center come see our newest tide pool residents. It’s a much dryer and warmer environment for observing sea creatures this time of year!

Our sincere thanks to long-time Pacific Science Center volunteer John Aurelius and the Indianola Beach community for allowing access to their shores.

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