Even though the summer sun can be quite hot here in Boca, in one respect we don’t have it nearly so bad as people who live farther north. Our maximum temperature is usually quite a bit cooler than the maximum in places like Washington, D.C. or New York. We may get warm sooner, and stay warm longer, but for us a killer heat wave is the mid-90s.
As Henry, Portier, and Coyne describe it, the average annual maximum temperature in southern Florida is 5° less than “most areas east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes” (7).
Jellyfish and hydrozoans are only one type of animal that gets washed up on the beach during our easterlies. During our explorations last weekend Marcella ran across a colony of goose barnacles that had washed up as well:
They’re attached to an orange substrate that reminds me of a sponge, but I know next to nothing about poriferans, so I can’t get much further with that (I had thought it was an agglomeration of red sponge, Haliclona rubens, but the color is wrong and they’re usually more fingerlike than clumpy).
But there are other, more readily identifiable organisms [...]
Springtime in south Florida generally means onshore breezes around the clock on the Atlantic coast. These steady breezes tend to push ashore large numbers of Physalia physalis, known as the Portuguese man o’ war, as was the case last weekend at Red Reef Park in Boca Raton:
According to my Witherington guide (Florida’s Living Beaches), April and May are the peak months for both size and abundance of these washed-up siphonophores. Even though it’s not a true jellyfish, the fact that both this animal and the true jellyfish can deliver a painful sting makes the distinction irrelevant in [...]
Psammophyte. This seems to be a fancy way of saying seaweed. Since this word is too hifalutin’ for the American Heritage or even Merriam-Webster teams to take on, here’s a definition of the term from Dawes and Mathieson (Seaweeds of Florida, U of Florida P 2008):
A plant that grows in unconsolidated sediments or on rocky subtrata that is impacted by sand scouring; these plants show specialized morphological and/or reproductive adaptations.
“Unconsolidated sediments” sounds to me like sand; not sure what else it could be (gravel or crushed shells, I suppose). And since psammo is Greek for sand, I’m going [...]
One of the things that I admire about Boca is that, despite its many faults, it does have some semblance of a commitment to environmental practices. For instance, it isn’t supposed to groom the beach above high tide during turtle nesting season. So the beach gets a little ugly, but it keeps those gigantic machines off the turtle nests. Well, apparently no one told the operator of the giant beach groomer that we saw a few weeks back, chugging south along the beach well above the tide line. You can see how neat the beach above high tide looks in [...]
Went to the beach last weekend, and got a few cute pictures:
[Show as slideshow]
When I get some more time, I’ll post more beach stuff…