Invertebrates exposed on Fundy shore

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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Diana Hamilton, associate professor of biology at Mount Allison University, shows an Arthropod to her son, nine-year-old Aaron Litauk, during a guided tour of the beach below the Joggins Fossil Centre on June 16. Fossil Centre interpreter Jacquelyn Lee was also showing Dale Brown and Arthropod, while Fossil Centre interpreter, Regan Maloney, searches for her own Arthropod.

JOGGINS - Mollusks, arthropods and other small invertebrates are abundant in the Bay of Fundy intertidal zone; you just have to know where to look to find them.

That’s where Diana Hamilton, associate professor of biology at Mount Allison University comes in to help.

She took people on a guided tour of the beach below the Joggins Fossil Centre on June 17.

“Any animal that lives in the intertidal zone, which is the area between low tide and high tide, needs certain adaptations to deal with massive change in temperature and changes in the environment because they’re under water half the time and exposed half the time,” said Hamilton.

One of those animals is the snail.

“Some of them with flat shells will clamp down on the rocks, and some with the coiled shells have a little covering that they pull their bodies into their shells and close that up,” said Hamilton.

Tides in the Bay of Fundy go in and out as often as elsewhere in the world but the Fundy tides are unique because of the high tides.

“The tide travels further in the Bay of Fundy but, depending on where the animal is in the tidal zone, it could be exposed for a very small amount of time or a very long amount of time,” said Hamilton.

“But the neat thing for us is, because it’s this huge area, there’s lots of opportunities for different habitats for the animals,” she added. “You can really see the separation of those that like to be high on the shore and from those that prefer to be lower on the shore.”

The same zone patterns exist throughout the world but, “because it’s a shorter distance it’s sometimes a little harder to see the separation between the different zones,” said Hamilton.

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Joggins Fossil Centre

Geographic location: Bay of Fundy

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