Burrrr, there’s a chill in the air! Did you know as we begin to feel the seasons change so too do our reptile friends. However, unlike us reptiles are coldblooded and need the warmer temperatures to get their energy. As temperatures drop reptiles begin to enter into hibernation. Starting in November if you are out in the estuaries you might not see our diamondback terrapin friends. Oreo and Tiny will be safe here on the USS Yorktown but you might not see any of their friends out and about until April when temperatures begin to rise.
Yesterday, Dr. Erik Sotka of the College of Charleston set out some home-made plankton "nets" to catch a variety of baby crab species! Did you know that juvenile crabs found in salt water ecosystems are actually plankton? So cool! Dr. Sotka also devised a neat way to trap these babies so his students can take a closer look. Using air filters like the ones found in schools and homes, he framed them in PVC to hold them rigid against the current and hung them here at Patriots Point!
Last week, President Obama created the largest protected area anywhere on Earth by quadrupling the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument's size to 528,578 square miles. That area is larger than all the national parks combined! What are some benefits to protecting this portion of the ocean? Papahānaumokuākea is home to many endangered species, including sea turtles, whales and Hawaiian monk seals. Click here to learn more about this new marine reserve!
Coral reefs typically thrive in clear, sunlit tropical waters. However, new ocean exploration challenged that norm with the recent discovery of a reef at the silty mouth of the Amazon River. The massive amount of fresh water, including the sediment that is brought along with it, make the presence of this reef very unexpected. Check it all out here.
Check out this free event this Saturday morning. Email Hannah Giddens, our Science Programs Coordinator with any questions.
How many eyes do you think a horseshoe crab has? Two? Four? Five? They actually have 10! These eyes are spread out over the organism's body including on its shell, tail, and near its mouth to help with navigation while swimming!
Hermit crabs are pretty funky little crabs. Instead of a hard shell, they have a soft abdomen. Hermit crabs are salvage empty seashells, such as whelk shells, to protect themselves. Once the crab gets too big, it'll leave its shell and look for a hew one.
Did you know, if a hermit crab finds a new shell but realizes its too big, it will wait next to this shell for up to eight hours. During this time other hermit crabs may come along and check out this new possible shell. If they also find it too big they will join in on the waiting game. If one hermit crab is able to claim the new larger shell, all the other hermit crabs will start switching existing shells in sequence, with each hermit crab "moving" up one shell size bigger. It works just like hand-me-downs!
Written by Malia Canann
Ospreys are fishermen. The name osprey comes from Latin and means “bone breaker”. This is a good way to describe how they catch fish. Ospreys, sometimes called fish hawks, fly to up to 30 stories above the water, dive quickly from these heights, and then pull up and plunge feet first to capture a fish in its strong talons. Their unusual feet have a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. Barbs (small hooks) on the soles of the birds' feet help them grip slippery fish. An osprey can carry a fish weighing 1 ½ pounds, up to half of its body weight!
Ospreys are so good at fishing that they catch a fish in about 1 in 4 tries in part because of their amazing eyesight. Once a fish is caught ospreys turn the fish around in their talons so that it is head first for aerodynamics as they fly. They then perch on a branch or pole to eat their delicious meal of fish.
Picture and information from: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Osprey/id
Information from Tideland Treasures by Todd Ballantine