>Tuesday Evening Mussel Sampling – 1/14/10

>Mussel Sampling at Illahee Dock.  On Tuesday evening, 1/12/10, three Navy civilian personnel collected mussel samples at the Illahee Community dock and we tried to capture the event with this brief report and photos.

Three Separate Sites Selected.  In order to get a representative sample, three separate sites were selected at the dock.  The first site was from the cross sections of the wood pilings.  The second was from a concrete piling supporting the main structure.  And the third site was from one of the outward float pilings.  See the first three photos of the site sampling locations.

Piling Habitat.  The dock pilings provide an ideal habitat for mussels, along with other creatures, including barnacles, fish and worms.  Sea stars, or starfish, keep the lower portion of the pilings clean as they eat the mussels and barnacles.  The mussels grow generally to the mean high tide water mark along with the barnacles that grow from the base of the pilings to above mean high tide.  Note the close up of the sampling site showing the mussels and the barnacles.

Fish & Worm Habitat.  We were surprised to see that small fish remained high up on the pilings hiding in the mussels and barnacles during the low tide.  See the photo of the prickleback or gunnel fish in the sampling bucket.  The next photo shows the orange eggs from these fish, whatever kind of fish it was.  It appeared to us to be a gunnel, but the scientists called it a prickleback, so maybe someone can help us with the difference.  We think the picture was more eel like, which to us would indicate a gunnel, but we were not sure so we labeled the photos ‘pricleback or gunnel.’  And as for the worm, Robert Johnston, the leader of the Navy team and a Phd, and on the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel, explained what it was, but we didn’t write it down in the rain and will need others to help us name it.

Results?  The samples were going to be sent to the Battell Labs in Sequim a the results will eventually be shared with the Port of Illahee and we will get a copy to share with the Illahee Community.

Thanks to the Navy.  We want to thank the Navy and Bob Johnston and his team for letting us observe and photograph the event.

Jim Aho