Allright, everybody off the boat, but do NOT hit the beach empty handed. We've got seine nets, cast nets, the beach box of equipment, the giant ice chest with your lunches, and lots of buckets to offload. Half of you will be exploring the island first and collecting along the shoreline. The other half are staying on the boat for sampling over the grassflats.
Later, we will switch.
Remember, FISH FIRST, FISH FIRST! When you catch stuff, send the fish back into the water first! A quick look with wet hands and then release.
The invertebrates can handle being out of the water better, but don't keep them too long.
... and try not to get stung by a stingray.
To do so would break my field trip record of no stingray stung students in 22 years and I will be grouchy if you ruin our trip by stepping on a stingray.
Shuffle people, shuffle.
Nice catch! A one chelipeded crustacean. These are great to eat, but this one is a lucky crab. We are just going to look at his belly and the release him.
Correct! He is a HE. The skinny abdomen is the clue. Girls have a wider triangular abdomen ... the better to keep and protect precious eggs.
To me, this is one of the prettiest blue palettes in all of nature.
Time to release this beautiful swimmer and see what else you caught in that net.
A batfish! How did you know I wanted one of these? Be sure to rub your hand on his back and then again on his belly before we let him go.
You did that already? Neat! Quite a difference huh?
He's a slow swimmer/ bottom crawler, but a great camo pattern helps him to ambush small invertebrates and young fish on the seafloor.
I know, I know, he's got beautiful eyes ... like a spadefoot toad.
I love the way you all paid attention last week when I was giving cast net lessons in the schoolyard. You might have felt a little awkward out on the bus loading pad, but it sure paid off on the field trip.
Thanks for bringing this old clam farm junk off the beach! It's nice to leave this little island better than we found it.
Extra credit for you ... even if you left it for me to load into the boat.
Good job beach crew!
Next post: Boat crew !