Dr Joe’s Ecology Trip

A few days after we arrived at Tybee, Georgia, we went on a two hour ecology trip on the beach. Dr. Joe showed up in a big white SUV with an entire cart of tools for the beach. He had shovels, nets, a bin and a sand sucking tool (I will explain in a minute). On the beach there are two jetties, like walls made of boulders that reduce beach erosion. They have lots of small tide pools around them. These tide pools are filled with crabs, both hermit and regular.

These are the shells of crabs that we have found around the beach. I found a baby one in one of the tide pools. He was kind of see through.

We probably caught 40-50 hermit crabs and put them in the bin with some water. It was fun to see all of the different shells that they had. My mom found a huge one that was a little smaller than the size of Aaron’s fist. The rest were about the size of a dime. Aaron found a live lettered olive in the sand. A lettered olive is a snail that lives in a long shell that has lined markings on it that can look like letters. The snail was about two inches long. We put him in the bin with the hermit crabs. It was fun to watch them run around trying to figure out where they were.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take picture of the bin. I guess we were having too much fun.

In the later part of the trip Aaron and my dad were using the sand sucking machine to look for ghost shrimp. If you have ever been on a beach and seen these:

 

Than you have seen a ghost shrimp hole. They live about five feet down and eat the plankton that are pushed into their holes from the water. The sprinkle looking things on the top of their holes are actually their poops. They clean out their houses during low tide and push the poo out. Anyway, Aaron and my dad finally sucked one out of the sand with the tool thing (that’s what it’s for) and put him in the bin with the rest of the creatures. He was about three and a half inches long and couldn’t swim very well. Although he was faster than the hermit crabs. We also saw a sand flea, or burrowing crab. We let him go though. He was a nasty looking sucker. He had creepy little legs. *shudder*

We learned that the conch shells that we see here are actually called whelk shells. A whelk is just a type of conch snail. And there are two different types of whelk here, knobbed and lighting. The knobbed whelk’s name makes sense because their shell has lost of knobs on it. But the lighting whelk’s shell has nothing to do with lightning. The major difference between the two whelks is that their openings are on different sides. The lighting shell opens on the left and the knobbed on the right.

This ecology trip was super fun and Dr. Joe was an awesome teacher for two hours so if you are in the area I highly suggest doing this trip.

I’m out of time to type to here is the randomfactofthepost.

A group of ferrets is called a business.

I’m gonna leave now. Ok. Bye…

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