A superlow tide at St. Michael’s Mount

IMG_6745The lowest tide of the century so far, on a Saturday, with beautiful weather and on a stunning location: what could go wrong? Very little! St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Mount’s Bay is one of the most beautiful spots in Cornwall and an excellent site for rock pooling with a mixture of eelgrass beds, rocks and sandy expanses. I felt like a kid in a candy shop: wanting to turn every stone, photograph every seaweed and inspect every gully before the tide would come back in. I needed to collect some more Clawed fork weed Furcellaria lumbricalis for a cool student project. That was abundant so easy to sort. Chock full of Pheasant shells Tricolia pullus. One other amazing thing was that the place was littered with Bull huss Scyliorhinus stellaris (a.k.a. Nursehound, a.k.a. Large-spotted dogfish) mermaids purses. Mount’s bay is an important breeding ground for these sharks. The yolk was easy to spot, but the embryo’s still to small to be seen. There were loads of pretty seaweeds gently waving among the eelgrass in the crystal clear water. I saw a bright green Chameleon prawn swimming about, but the picture I took was a bit underwhelming. IMG_6720

IMG_6774I had met up with David Fenwick, so could get all species identified on the spot. Very striking was a great amount of small, fuzzy pink seaweed balls: Falkenbergia, the tetrasporophyte stage of the Harpoon weed Asparagopsis armata (it looks so different from the gametophyte stage, see some old posts, that it was long considered a separate species). Also, a picture of Bushy rainbow wrack Cystoseira tamariscifolia, simply because one cannot post too many pictures of Bushy rainbow wrack….IMG_6778

IMG_6760Some invertebrates: the large scale worm Alentia gelatinosa, a Strawberry worm Eupolymnia nebulosa larger still, a tiny hermit crab Anapagurus hyndmanni and the Arctic cowrie Trivia arctica:IMG_6782

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IMG_6793The find of the day (the month probably) was a Little cuttlefish Sepiola atlantica. This picture is crap, but David has made some stunning photos back in his lab and they will appear sometime soon on his aphotomarine site I am sure.IMG_6786

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5 thoughts on “A superlow tide at St. Michael’s Mount

  1. hello – fantastic photos – i’ve also just found lots of the most amazing mermaid’s purses during the equinox tide – i’m about to put them on my blog they are so wonderful! one is covered in star ascidian! i’ll send you a link – exciting finds… thanks for sharing, jo

      • it’s mainly an art blog with a touch of beachcombing and things i find beautiful and interesting in the sea – but not very scientific! i did a search on ‘star ascidian cornwall’ to try and identify some and that’s when your blog came up – very helpful, thanks

  2. Hi, what a fantastic site! I have only recently set up a native tank and your site has been a fantastic help.
    I’d like to try and add some seaweeds and was hoping you could tell me the best way of collecting them?
    How do you remove plants from the rocks without damaging them and getting some roots? Thank you

    • Thanks! Most of what I have been able to figure out is described in the three posts ‘seaweeds in the aquarium’. Also check out the other blogs in the Links section and I can really recommend the Seasearch seaweed guide also linked there. There are two very useful coldwatre marine aquarium sites on facebook as well. In short, I would try different species but use small pieces so as when any die off, it will not cause any problems. The beautiful Bushy rainbow wrack is longlived and not common everywhere so I would advise to not pull these plants from the rocks (as I have done at the start!) Good luck and maybe start your own blog, wordpress is really userfriendly! cheers M

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