Monday, 18 July 2011

Collecting trip at Kingston Beach Shoreham Harbour

I visited Kingston beach today to collect some marine invertebrates for a school visit on Wednesday. As usual the challenge is to find very small animals that can be shown under the digital microscope.

The beach is inside the harbour mouth at Shoreham which means is is protected from the worst of the weather.

A few shingle plants can be found at the top of the beach such as this sea kale.

Some sandwich turns were sheltering from the wind on the exposed sand.
They can be identified from other terns by the crested black cap, long black beak with a yellow tip and the short black legs 

The low tide exposes a large area of silty sand. The upper area is stabilised by a mussels bed. Pools off sea water are trapped between the gaps providingng temporary pools. 

However beneath this is chalk which shows through in places

I moved a loose piece of chalk and found some live piddock shells. Piddocks bore into the chalk where they can live in relative safety. They feed using long siphons that protrude out of the chalk at high tide. This is the underside.

The old sea defences also provide places for marine life to colonise and also several large pools collect at the base.

These are dog whelk eggs. You can also see a small hole in the mussel shell. Dog whelks feed on mussels by boring a  hole through its shell. You can see the white shell of an adult dog whelk behind the eggs.

The transparent prawns lining in the pool at the base of the sea defence are difficult to spot unless they move.

There were several large snakelock anemones in one of the larger pools

They can be identified by the green tentacles (a symbiotic algae lives in them giving them the colour) with pink tips. Unlike beadlet anemone it cannot close up at low tide.

Check out my next blog entry to find out what sea animals I found to take to the school.

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