False Bay Lab by Phil Green

We descended on False Bay at 2030 on October 6, 2009 ready to harass the local worm population.

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Instead of exploring on my own, I decided to follow the visiting expert, Kelly.  It’s always fun to see someone who has really found their niche and enjoys what they do.

Kelly

Kelly

Along with her, people dug:fhl-lab2b-2 Poked for lug worms

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Pointed at/out worm mounds and droppings:  fhl-lab2b-9 fhl-lab2-13

And of course we saw some worms too:  fhl-lab2b

lugworm with finger for scale

lugworm with finger for scale

Now I’m not much of  a worm person so I’m glad Kelly and others enjoyed this.  We did see things that I thought were more interesting like one mollusck, an anenome growing on Zostera, plus my favorite, a Dungeness crab buried in the mud. fhl-lab2b-13 It took two shovels to dig this pugnacuos fella (yes we checked and you can tell without looking at their gonads) out.  Moose was nice enough to risk a couple fingers and flip him over.  fhl-lab2b-15 As we were returning our reluctant subject to its hiding place, his stalked eyes pleading not to be eaten, fhl-lab2b-16several questions came up.  Why bury in the mud?   (hiding from predators, thermoregulation)  What would happen if we left it out?  (die from hypothermia,  or just return to its hiding place) and so with tears in our eyes and sand in his we reburied him.  This raised another question, does putting wet sand on top of a crab mess up it gills?  All I could find on line was that as long as the gills were kept wet, they could process oxygen.  So it is my belief that this Dungeness crab have briefly thought it was going to die, but will live to see another day.  (Maybe even another MBQ class)

One final thought;  While I enjoyed following Kelly and Emily around, no matter who you are with you miss something.  My safety buddies, who I immediately lost track of, saw a Pacific spiny lumpsucker on their foray into the mud flats.  I am really jealous because this is such a great find and one that divers in the San Juans rarely see.

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