Buoy Biodiversity

A while ago I played around with taking pics of the underside of a buoy, which was fun, and so i wanted to practice this some more. My mistake the first time (see here) was to use a fast shutterspeed (the buoy was bobbing about after all) which made the water look unnaturally dark. I tried again this weekend and it went a bit better, although I already know I can improve things. This time I thought it would be nice to put some names to the amazing fouling biodiversity (I did this before for some seaweed images, see here). Crustaceans (tube-dwelling Jassa), Sponges, Bryozoans, Seaweeds but especially a lot of Tunicates (seasquirts; both solitary and colonial species). David Fenwick (of AphotoMarine fame) had a quick look to help with some IDs; there is a more there but this was not meant to be exhaustive. I have underlined species that are invasive. Anyway, I am sure I will post more of these types of images: the buoys are always there and these organisms do not swim off when you try to take a photo!

tunicate time

After being abroad a couple of times this summer (Slovenia, France 1 2 3 and The Netherlands), I have started rock pooling in Falmouth and Flushing again. Things have noticeably changed since the spring, most prominent being the recent abundance of all kinds of sea squirts (tunicates). They are everywhere, and some of them I have not seen before. The solitary sea squirt Corella eumyota is very common, with smaller individuals a translucent white and larger individuals more orange:


My personal favourites the colonial Botryllus (in the above picture bottom left among the bryozoans) and Botrylloides are also very abundant at the moment. I should measure the width of a population on a recognizable, large rock and go back to check how fast they grow actually. Below a picture of both species growing side by side:


Some more Botryllus schlosseri pictures demonstrating the variability in colour (the Botrylloides leachi here look all the same):



A species that I had not noticed before and is growing in every rock pool in Flushing at the moment is the orange Morchellium argum, which grows as a colony as does Botryllus or Botrylloides but in a rather different way. A colony consists of a stalked club with individual zooids protruding from the ‘head’: