Nature Blog Network

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bloggin by the Beach

Photo by Linda Z

You may have noticed a bit of inactivity on my blog, which is highly unusual given my tendency to blabber. That is because I'm with my family in South Bethany Beach for the week for a little vacation. This is my first time to an east coast beach. We are enjoying it, the water is warm and delightful. South Bethany is significantly less crowded than other nearby beaches too. This is my son's first time to the beach (aside from being a small baby on the baltic coast of Sweden). The first day he was very hesitant, clearly scared of water coming toward, though fascinated and in awe of the ocean. By afternoon he was playing with his truck in a puddle created by a few rogue waves earlier.

Today he was doing great in the morning. We walk a ways up the beach he poked his finger in crab burrows and said "hole", picked up shells and promptly tossed them, chased a tern around saying "bye bird" and trampled over the remains of yesterday's sand forts. But in the afternoon, after his nap, he wanted nothin to do with puddles and enticingly warm water, or wet sand for that matter. He did everything possible to avoid getting his feet in the water. So instead, we went to the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach and walked around where he was absolutely goggle-eyed at the sights and sounds of all the arcades we passed.

I naively brought a collection kit consisting of 95% ethanol, nalgene jars, label tape and a sharpie. Of course my brother gave me the Geek of the Week award for bringing a collection kit on my family vacation. But hey when opportunity arises, I'd like to be prepared! I need to collect zoanthids for a phylogenetic project being start up by myself and several colleagues. The naive part is that I wasn't aware Delaware was nothing but sand. Not a rock in sight, nothing for clinging critters. BORING! The invertebrate life is pretty sparse here. I've seen a small crab, some kind of strange burrowing "shrimp" (looks like a shrimp but with a highly reduced abdomen folded tightly underneath so as to appear like its only half an organism!) and a copepod that burrows in the sand. The beach is very nice though. If anyone knows where I might be able to collect zoanthids in Southern Delaware or Northern Maryland or any type of rocky intertidal type habitat in the area, please let me know ASAP. Can you tell yet that I am used to the coast of CA? So much great stuff to go tide-pooling over there!


  1. Don't leave home without a collection kit!

  2. Aydin, You know you've become a scientist, when you view family vacations as a collecting opportunity.

    Jim, thats it! Thanks, I didn't look at it carefully enough, but certainly a crab and not a shrimp. I found larger intact ones on my last day there, definitely mole crabs.

    Everyone, We were originally planning on going to cape cod, but with our 3-month old we decided it was too long of a car trip from central PA. I was looking forward to some rocky shores though to collect some cnidarians. I'm in need of DNA quality samples of Sphenopus marsupialis if anyone out that way finds any. They were collected in Massachusetts Bay on seagrass fronds as well as sandy or muddy substrata. They are large, solitary, grayish, free-living polyps. Will pay for shipping.


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