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Showing posts from August, 2015

The Rocks are Alive?

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Many of us are intrigued by the large animals seen at Haystack Rock, which unfortunately leaves most people to step over, or even on, hundreds of very delicate creatures that cover almost every visible rock, barnacles!
Barnacles are crustaceans, related to crabs and shrimp. Although we mostly only see them motionless and stuck to rocks, they expend lots of energy to stay alive and live in a variety of places! 
The first stage of a barnacle’s life is a free swimming, one-eyed larva. It hatches from a fertilized egg as a result of sexual reproduction. The barnacles mission at this stage is to find a surface to live on for the rest of its life. This could be attached to a rock, a ship, a whale, a crab, or any other hard surface which will allow the animal to settle.
The method barnacles use to attach themselves to surfaces in a wet environment is rather intriguing. Researchers have recently (2014) discovered that this is a two-step process. The first substance that is secreted onto the…

Life in the Intertidal Zone

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The intertidal zone is the area between the high and low tide lines.  It is an area rich in nutrients and is the home to a variety of inhabitants, but it is a harsh habitat where the inhabitants have to survive in both the sea and on the land.  The Intertidal has four distinct zones. The spray zone is submerged only during very high tides or during storms, but will be 'sprayed' by sea water by splashing waves and wind-blown spray. The high intertidal zone is submerged during the peak of the high tide and is out of the water for long periods between the high tides. The middle intertidal zone is typically exposed during the hours surrounding the low tide and low intertidal zone is exposed only during the lowest tides.

Most human visits to Haystack Rock are during low tide when much of the intertidal zone is exposed and the inhabitants are exposed to the air. While the human visitors leave as the water submerges the landscape with the incoming tide, the inhabitants remain and hav…