A Day at the Seaside I – Crustaceans

Filey Brigg at low tide

The day at the seaside was my favourite excursion with the MSc. It was also a part of the Marine Biology Module and led us to the Bempton Cliffs, where we photographed wild seabirds, and Filey Brigg, which was a rock pooling paradise.

One of the tasks of that day was to take photos of a group of animals in order to make a dichotomous key. I chose crustaceans and luckily we did find enough different species in the rock pools, including hermit crabs and lots and lots of barnacles.

In a way, working on the dichotomous key was a good way to end the module and to slowly start the work on my MSc Summer Project (basically my Master thesis), as I will be investigating the species of crustaceans found at Attenborough Nature Reserve. The first day of taking samples will be next week Monday and I am looking forward to getting back into pond dipping and kick sampling – techniques which I used extensively whilst catching gammarids  for my Bachelors thesis in Muenster last year.

In any case, here are a few of the crustaceans we found on the Brigg before the rising tide meant that we had to retreat to the sandy beach again.

Acorn Barnacles Semibalanus balanoides – yes, they really are crustaceans and not molluscs!

Common Hermit Crab Pagurus bernhardus

Edible Crab Cancer pagurus – funnily their carapace is said to have a “piecrust edge”


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