From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay
Published August 12, 2009
From Jack Cover, General Curator at the National Aquarium
Sunday morning I went down to Kent Island to collect comb jellies for the Aquarium's new Jellies exhibit. I took a boat out on No Name creek, which is just north of Romancoke. It was a partly cloudy day and the water was fairly calm as I looked around for comb jellies.
I saw a lot of Atlantic sea nettles, which we have plenty of at the Aquarium, but very few combs. I was drifting about 200-300 yards east of No Name creek (a bit northeast of the Romancoke public pier) staring into the water for comb jellies, which were very few and far between. I know they were there but were not coming to the surface because the conditions were just not right- small waves, they like perfect calm.
As I continued to look I saw a cownose ray swim along the surface about 50 feet away. All was quiet and mostly still. Then suddenly, about 4 feet off the side of the boat , a big object launched out of the water like a polaris missile. I was completely startled and, at first, thought a diver was blowing up out of the water. It turned out to be an adult loggerhead sea turtle who was in obvious need of a big breath of air and launched partly out of the water!
The turtle was startled to see me and my boat and quickly submerged again . It moved away and popped up a total of 4 times to get quick breaths. I never saw it again after the four breath but it was headed in the direction of Cox creek. It's head was massive and unfortunately I never got to see the tail to see if it was a male or female. I’m guessing that it was foraging in this area for horseshoe crabs and blue crabs, which are both abundant.
I have spent a great deal of time out on these waters and have always hoped to encounter a sea turtle in the Bay. Yesterday, while looking for jellies, that wish finally came true. Thought you’d like to hear about a healthy sea turtle out there doing its thing!
Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!
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Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.
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