Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Skye - an AMAZING time at the beach

Hit the beach today. That was it. No work, no hills, no woods, no nuffin' - just the beach. I was there for hours n' hours and oh boy did I ever have a fun time! 

I concentrated on seaweeds (naughty word) marine alga and surprised myself by finding SEVEN new ones for my list. I walked away from a couple of red alga that looked too nondescript to even bother with (and I ignored the encrusting pink Lithophyllums!), but basically grilled all of the rest including a few green ones that required the microscope to clinch an ID. Ok, so I'll just whack up pics with captions - 

Prasiola stiptata in situ
Prasiola stiptata habbo shot - higher than the other species, often found where birds sit and crap.
Prasiola stipata - noticeable stipe which runs into blade, often several arise from a communal holdfast
Blidingia minima in situ where a freshwater burn runs across the rocks
Blidingia minima - cells not running in parallel rows (trust me...) hence not B.marginata
Cladophera rupestris - do-able on colour alone, but angle of branching and diagonal joins important too.
Choreocolax polysiphonia -  it's the pale 'galls' on the Polysiphonia lanosa
This was my find of the day - a truly tiny epiphytic colourless red alga that lives epiphytically on an epiphytic red alga, amazing! Took a lot of hard squinting to finally find some, then found several clumps on this one alga. Really pleased with this, a targeted search successfully completed. Talking of targeted epiphyte searches, this was another one - 

Elachista fusicola - growing here on Bladder Wrack
Elachista fusicola - microscope pic (and hence duff...)
Membranoptera alata - epiphytic on Cuvie stipes
Blimey, I never knew we had so many epiphytic marine algae, it's like a whole world full of bromeliads out there!!! 

Membranoptera alata microscope pic. Note the tetrasporangial sori in the blade at the bottom of the image
Hildenbrandia rubra - the red scuzz on the pebble. Massively prevalent across Uig Beach!
They were the lifers, add to that a host of other species that I've already seen and I was having a whale of a time. Didn't even fall over despite schlomping through acres of wrack! 

So that's seven new alga, but I also managed a new lichen. Massively common in this habitat, I have to thank Ali for the heads-up (I saw it in your blog!) Despite it being very common I managed the worst pics ever....apologies in advance! 

Verrucosia mucosa - note the pale outline to the thallus. Proper shite shot, huh?
I found a few other bits n bobs amongst the weed. As instructed by Steve Trewhella, I brought a tray with me this time and duly found another mollusc blob. Whack it in the tub and hey presto it grows horns and gills! 

I don't care what the experts say, I'm having this as Doris pseudoargus!
Also found this fella under a rock. Talk about slippery as an...oh....oh right, now I get it

Atlantic Eel Anguilla anguilla - note the Hildenbrandia rubra (red scuzz) on the pebble. Common as muck!
Managed to inadvertantly bring this chap home with me, hiding away amongst a clod of Cladophera. The shape of the telson (last segment of the body, the 'tail' if you like) is crucially important when identifying this genus of marine isopods.

Idotea granulatus - commonest of the genus but new for me (and 4th of the genus...)
Other things of interest included some amazing-looking sponges. My sense of smell is pretty poor (although I smell strongly if that means anything?) and I was unable to detect any bleach-like or bread-like smells emanating from this specimen. I suspect Breadcrumb Sponge but without microscopically checking the spicules it's a bit of a guessing game. Hence it's not on my list...yet

Probably Breadcrumb Sponge Halichondria panicea, but possibly not
And I found this dainty wee thing. No idea which species, a quick (2hr...) blast through various websites provided few clues. My good mate and fellow PSL weirdo Danny Cooper wisely counselled "anemones are a nightmare. Find a marine biologist or ignore them." If you are a marine biologist who knows the species, please do leave a comment!

I dunno, question is - do you?
Back at the top of the beach I found this lichen growing in mortar, possibly Collema cristatum (Ali, care to comment?) 

317 Hildenbrandia rubra (encrusting marine alga) - Lifer
318 Lichina pygmaea (lichen)
319 Verrucosa mucosa (lichen) - Lifer
320 Elachista fusicola (epiphytic marine alga) - Lifer
321 Choreocolax polysiphonia (epiphytic marine alga) - Lifer
322 Atlantic Eel (fish)
323 Doris pseudoargus (sea slug)
324 Prasiola stiptata (marine alga) - Lifer
325 Membranoptera alata (marine alga) - Lifer
326 Cladophera rupsetris (marine alga)
327 Blidingia minima (marine alga) - Lifer
328 Mastocarpus stellatus (marine alga)
329 Idotea granulosa (marine isopod) - Lifer
330 Ptilota gunneri (marine alga) - Lifer
331 Collema cristatum (lichen) - Lifer
332 Janua pagenstecheri (tubeworm)

Those ten lifers bump my British PSL to 4553 species.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing stuff, and 10 PSL lifers!!! I was wondering if you could let me know what resources you're using to identify the green and red seaweeds? I've got a key to macro brown species, but can't find one for red or green.
    Also, thanks for the tip off with Hildenbrandia rubra