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Beach Findings, Can You Recognise Them All?

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There are few things that make a biologist as happy as being able to ramble through beautiful nature. Especially when the assignment is to “find anything interesting”. Well, that we did. We found a whole lot of interesting things on this lovely little beach! Can you recognise all the things in the pictures?

It might have been a cold and windy day, but that couldn’t stop us! Armed with crab-traps, bottles, trays, boxes and shovels, we stormed the beach. And when the sun broke through only moments later, our mood could not get any better!

Here are some of the things we found. See if you can recognise them before you read the description. It’s a good preparation if you are going on a beach holiday in summer as well!

Who doesn't know them? Blue mussels, hundreds of them!

Who doesn’t know them? Blue mussels, hundreds of them!

Look at how the mussels and other sea organisms have spread themselves over this stone. Can you see the different layers?

Look at how the mussels and other sea organisms have spread themselves over this stone. Can you see the different layers?

Have you noticed the layers in the picture above? Those layers are a result of the tidal movements. We were here at low tide, so everything was above water. But as you can imagine, the lower part of the stone will be submerged again a lot sooner than the top. So organisms that can handle being dry very well, will grow easily at the top. Organisms that can’t stay out of the water for so long will grow lower on the stone.

zeepokken2

Barnacles! Most of these are dead, because you can see inside the lime scale. If they are alive, they will close off the entry with four “doors”.

... like this. See the difference?

… like this. See the difference?

(And have you noticed the tiny baby barnacles in the picture above? They’re so cute!)

zeepier hoopje

You have probably also seen this before. The small pile of wire-like sand are the droppings of a lugworm. He “eats” sand, filters the useful particles out of it, and excretes the rest in a pile like this.

Hey, what's that? Part of a jaw. It was rather big, and the teeth were very sharp! It has to be from some sort of predatory fish.

Hey, what’s that? Part of a jaw. It was rather big, and the teeth were very sharp! It has to be from some sort of predatory fish.

But of course we also looked at other things, apart from shells. As seaweeds are not very photogenic, I didn’t take a lot of pictures from that. (And I think I just kind of forgot, to be honest…) But here is proof that we did find them:

tray of weeds

A tray full of sea weeds. The big sheets of green are a brown weed called sea belt. You can also spot some sprigs of red weeds.

The sea belt you see in the picture is a weed that can grow up to over two metres in length. The interesting thing about it, though, is that it can produce a white, sweet substance that looks a lot like sugar. No wonder it is called “sugar weed” in both Dutch and Norwegian.

Note: we did not take any rooted weeds. All findings were already lying loose on the beach.

As for the living things, these are some of the creatures we found. It's a small crab, a sea star, a pearl fish and a polychaete worm.

As for the living things, these are some of the creatures we found. It’s a small crab, a sea star, a pearl fish and a polychaete worm.

Isn’t that pearl fish just the most strange thing? It is so long and thin and has fins that are barely even visible. While we were looking, the fish actually kept tying itself in a knot, releasing again, tying again, over and over again. It looked so surreal, but kind of cute at the same time.

So, were you able to recognise most of these creatures? Aren’t they all just amazing?

Note: we treated all findings with the utmost care and returned them to their right place as soon as possible. Turned stones were flipped back to protect the vulnerable ecosystems they hide and living animals were only kept for identification in the minimal amount of time. 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Mijn Kleine Geheimpjes

    Gets, als ik het zo zie ben ik blij dat ik het niet zo zie als ik in het zeewater rondbanjer haha!

    Wednesday May 6th, 2015 at 11:12 AM
    • Reply Inge

      Haha, tja, zo kun je het ook bekijken.

      Thursday May 7th, 2015 at 08:59 PM

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