Beachcombing
Bolivar Flats is an Audubon Bird Sanctuary and an excellent site for beachcombing. Because it faces the Gulf of Mexico, we found a variety of seeds: mango, hickory, black walnut, wild almond, lotus, red bean and palm. Some of these come from our neighboring countries, but many, such as the black walnut and hickory come down the Mississippi River from Ohio.

Birds of the Upper Texas Coast Bolivar Flats is a prime bird watching site. Some of the birds seen were: brown pelicans, laughing gulls, ibis, egrets, curlews, sandpipers, royal terns, and many others. At other sites, esp. around the TX City Dike, we found roseate spoon bills.


The teachers are looking at a blue crab that has recently molted its outer skeleton, or exoskeleton. Crabs and lobsters are members of a group of invertebrates that shed their exoskeleton in order to grow. After they have molted, it takes a few days for the new exoskeleton to harden. Until it does harden, the crab can be food for other crabs.

 


Seashells of Galveston Texas

Texas City Dike: Hermit crab haven. Hermit crabs gather in large numbers to exchange their old shells for new ones. Unlike most crabs, they have a soft belly that they protect by using the shell of a dead snail.

Texas City Dike: There is a variety of life that lives amongst the rocks. Most notably, sea anemonies. These relatives of the coral adhere to rock and use thier sticky tentacles to trap food.

(left)
Sargassum is a type of floating algae that is found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This area is appropriately named the Sargasso Sea. Out in the open ocean, there are no places for smaller animals to hide. They make use of the sargassum and blend into their surroundings. We were looking for Sargassum shrimp, Sargassum fish and Sargassum crab.

Sargassum - Fun Facts


Texas City Dike: There is a variety of life that lives amongst the rocks. Most notably, sea anemonies. These relatives of the coral adhere to rock and use thier sticky tentacles to trap food.


 


Seining:
Here, we are using a forty foot sein net to sample the marine life at the Texas City Dike. Our catch included a variety of organisms such as bay anchovies, shad, blue crabs, comb jellyfish, squid, and shrimp.

 

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