False Bay: On the hunt for polychaets

Stomping around in the tidal flats last Tuesday was great! I spent a little time following Meghan around (armed with Jeff Levinton’s personal corer!!!) captivated by her unbridled enthusiasm for annelids.

Searching the mud for worms

Searching the mud for worms

Also, while poking through the fine intertidal substrate we happened across some other curious invertebrates. One of the strangest and coolest was the “Ghost Shrimp” or Neotrypaea californiensis

Neotrypaea californiensis

Neotrypaea californiensis

One type of behavior I had never actually seen in the field before was a crab’s ability to bury itself entirely in the mud:

Halfway there!

Halfway there!

As someone mentioned in an earlier entry (no name!), Kate and I stumbled upon a Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker (Eumicrotremus orbis) living on a blade of eel grass in one of the deeper pools. It was a pretty cool find.

Eumicrotremus orbis

Eumicrotremus orbis

All in all it was a really fun trip! The tidal flats at False bay provide a pretty unique physical environment for a marine community to live, although often hazardous as was evident from the Great Blue Heron tracks in the mud! Finding polychaetes in the mud after listening to Kelly’s talk was pretty cool too! I was working that fracture force equation in my head as we went (Just Kidding!). It did add a different perspective to polychaete ecology than many of us probably had before.

-Sean Luis

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