Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's spring, and love is in the air...and water

It's quite nice being on a dock to finish up our pre-cruise task, especially since we don't have to pay rent to the Municipal Marina! Wildlife watching is a great pastime when out sailing or offshore, but being on the dock provides it's own opportunities. Chris called me out the other day to see the oysters spawning. Very cool! For those who aren't familiar with piling-clinging critters, the eastern oyster (scientific name Crassostrea virginica) is a mollusc commonly seen on shore-side structures (for more information on oysters, see this species profile). These oysters were spawning on an ebbing tide (tide was going out), and all the oysters on the pilings and along the seawall were participating (use your imagination if you wish to go in that direction). In this picture you can see (yes, you can, if you look closely) a little puff of gametes (eggs or sperm) that an oyster just released - the gametes make the water look milky.
I think my family would call this one of Anne's "can you see the animal" pictures; I'm sure there will be more in the future, hopefully of wildly more exciting (and larger) animals.


  1. This is one of the many things we love about you guys -- the ability to tell us what we're seeing when we're looking at this kind of thing. We had no idea. We'd seen it, but just didn't get it. You have great careers ahead of you telling cruisers what's going on from a biological perspective. Many thanks for being the brilliant people that you are!

  2. It's always good to know when it might not be the best time to jump in the water!