We're talking tides in Marine Science this week ... spring tides, neap tides, semidiurnal tides, diurnal tides, mixed tides ... what they are, why they are, differences, effects on marine life ... it's mind boggling.
At least I think their minds are boggled ... it's hard to tell on some of them.
Sometimes, when dealing with these simple truths about planet Earth, I take the opposite tack and ask them to imagine a world without whatever natural process or truth that we are dealing with at the time..
What if there were no tides on earth? How different would things be for life along the coast ... and for us?
... Or when we are discussing all the WEIRD properties of that chemical bad boy ... water ... what a rebel compound this water stuff is ... incorrigible actually.
It breaks so many rules ... like that crazy density thing ... being less dense as a solid than as a liquid. TOTALLY WEIRD.
I ask them ...
"What if ice sunk like it's supposed to do?"
We range far and wide over the global effects of billions of years of ice sinking, piling up on the seafloor, cooling the waters ever more, creeping outward ... and we usually wind up realizing that the simple fact that ice floats makes it possible for us to be here in our present form.
That and the fact that Peggy Flemming or Dorothy Hamill would never have had a sport to participate in is pretty sobering.
But, what of tides and mangels of mangroves manifesting multiarching roots with many multitudes of munchers mingling amongst them?
What of sessile stress?
The sessile dilemma ...
Where to live, where to live ?
If I attach too high, I'd better be tough enough to withstand hours outside of water during falling tides. Plus, I will be stuck there in plain view of interlopers like raccoons and other munchers.
If I attach deep, I won't have to worry about dessication, but the competition for space is tough and there will be constant threats from aquatic predators.
Just be thankful there are SO many proproots to choose from sessile citizens. The mangrove is very generous in this area.
Leaving sessile stress behind, we arrive in the mud where the value of the mangrove tree shines again in the form of detritus.