Notes From the Field #1 Shell Epibiota: The True City of Atlantis

 

 

Dear Journal,

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,

Ms. Mallory

 Joe Pfaller studying epibiota on nesting loggerhead sea turtle shell. Image taken by Mallory Lindsay using IR camera.

Joe Pfaller studying epibiota on nesting loggerhead sea turtle shell. Image taken by Mallory Lindsay using IR camera.

Ms. Mallory