Hidden diversity

Windy ride

By  Nicole Webster

Just a little reminder that the swatch of mussels and barnacles that seems monotonous is hiding a secret. Mussel beds provide a great habitat for all sorts of organisms, sheltering them from predators and crashing waves, as well as the sun.

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Same old, same old… At least there’s some goosenecks (Pollicipes polymerus)

Oh dear, someone got the better of this mussel. Was is a sea star? or maybe the sun?

Oh dear, someone got the better of this mussel. Was is a sea star? or maybe the sun?

I pulled out the dead mussel and found a few fun treats underneath!

I pulled out the dead mussel and found a few fun treats underneath!

I know there’s only 4 phyla clearly visible, but that’s with a sample size of one mussel. Test your brain, what do you see in this photo? What are the phyla? the species?

For everyone’s sake, I wouldn’t go ripping up mussel patches to see what you can see, but  do take a closer look in between, kinda like peeking into a forest.

For more info of mussel bed diversity, a great place to start is A Snail’s Odyssey. The papers aren’t the newest, but it’s a great start to look for literature, and gives a nice overview of things.

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