Notes From the Field #1 Shell Epibiota: The True City of Atlantis
I just got back from my latest adventure and I am here to tell you that the search for that secret, sea turtle riding city of atlantis is over. It really does exist . .Just maybe not in the way we would have thought. During my eco vacation with the Caretta Research Project, I joined a group of volunteers on a remote island off of the georgia coast to aid researchers in collecting data on nesting loggerhead sea turtles.
**Little disclaimer, this one of the most amazing wildlife experiences I have ever had and highly recommend it to anyone.**
But back to the secret city, the organizations lead researcher-Dr. Joe Pfaller- introduced me to epibiota-the community of organisms carried on a loggerhead sea turtle’s shell. We are talking barnicles, sea anenomes, segmented worms, sponges, corals, sea slugs, even crabs. . . Totaling over 120 different species!! Some researchers have counted over 80 different species taking up residency on a loggerhead shell at one time! If that isn’t an enchanted city, then I don’t know what is.
Well, I must get back the field. The moonlight is still shining and I don't want to miss one of these ladies. . . Some have been at sea for 30 years before making their first debut on the sandy shores of the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge.
Until the next adventure,