Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Real Washington weather is finally back today--the fog is rolling in from the Strait of Juan De Fuca and it's cool enough to make me wonder about wearing pants or shorts to work.
I set off to North Beach in search of some new treasures for our Marine Exhibit. Collecting is one of my favorite tasks--I set out with a list in mind, but also get to discover new and interesting plants and animals that I didn't even know we needed.
My list today was short: new plants for the tanks, breadcrumb sponge and some upright coralline algae to feed some of the nudibranchs and the umbrella crab. You may know that all three of these things grow attached to rocks, usually rocks that are big enough and heavy enough not to be pushed around by the waves. Luck was with me today-- I found several perfect specimens that were attached to small rocks which were wedged under some big rocks. I put them into my buckets and trudged back up the beach to my car.

Breadcrumb sponge was everywhere! I was excited to find this Heath's Dorid, or Sea Lemon, grazing among sponge of exactly the same color.

After I got back to the marine exhibit, I carefully placed each of my hard earned finds into different tanks. I was worried that I had only found one rock with the upright corraline algae on it. What would my umbrella crab eat? Then I spied him at the front of his tank devouring barnacles, which grow prolifically on small, easy to find rocks. Ha! Well one of the other great things about my job is that I learn something new every day.

See you soon!


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