On May 3rd after listening to a lecture on fertilization ecology by Dr. Craig Young, the Embryology class piled into OIMB’s 15-passenger van and headed out to Cape Arago. Decked out in our rubber boots and rain gear, we descended the winding path from the road at the hill top to the rocky intertidal of South Cove. The tide was a -0.4 that day, exposing thousands of rocks and boulders to our searching eyes. Specifically, we were hunting for bryozoans, colonial “moss animals” that can often be found growing under overhanging rocks or encrusted on them. But while we were down there, we certainly weren’t going to pass up the chance to explore and find as many amazing organisms as we could!
Although the entire trip was informative and entertaining, I think the highlight for everyone was watching our professor, Dr. Svetlana Maslakova, crack open a sea urchin and eat the roe right out of it!
“A little salty, but good,” she said. Several of the students followed her example.
As the tide began to turn, and the rocks were covered once more by the sea, we climbed back up the hill, bryozoans in tow, to return to our classroom and study the embryology of this unique and fascinating phylum of animals.