Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aquatic Life Allens Pond–Macro Project

One of my projects for the coming year is to produce a series of photographs on the aquatic life of Allens Pond that the sanctuary in use for educational purposes.
The other day, utilizing two of the interns, we went down in the morning and in the afternoon to the culvert and and with netting collected specimens that I photograph.
By setup consisted of a plastic aquarium that I built, sprayed with white paint, of course, except for the front, and utilizing a white tent over the aquarium photograph a few specimens that we had obtained.  For this session.  I did not use any additional flash, because the day was extremely bright, sunny and diffuse light coming through the 110 gave me all the light that I needed for my photographs.  The day that I was there we had low water levels and not a large number of aquatic creatures were obtained.  I obtained photographs of mummichog, both common and strike variety, grass or shore shrimp, and crabs.

All the creatures we obtained were released back into the wild. 

Some of the things that I would change my next shoot me this to one; bring a sieve to filter the water prior to putting it into the Aquarian so that I can remove some of the particulate matter in the water and makes for a cleaner picture.  I will also utilize a ring flash from above to help with the lighting so that I can increase my depth of field, utilizing higher shutter speeds, but still low ISO settings.
Here's pictures of the interns looking for and collecting specimens.untitled MSB_9302 August 23, 2011 NIKON D300Suntitled MSB_9304 August 23, 2011 NIKON D300Suntitled MSB_9305 August 23, 2011 NIKON D300S
The culvert area is a connection between Allens Pond and the Pannes, and the small creek is loaded with aquatic life.
Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes spp.) or Common Shore Shrimp.are transparent grey, with red, yellow, white, and blue spots visible on their backs. are 1 to 2 inches long, 1/4 inch wide.  They are found Among submerged seaweeds on muddy-sandy bottoms, ditches, and salt marshes.untitled D7K_4307-Edit August 23, 2011 NIKON D7000
Grass shrimp are the most common species of shrimp inhabiting New England's shallow coastal waters from Cape Cod south. They are commonly found in salt marshes, seaweed, and eel grass beds along the coast. Using well-developed sense organs, grass shrimp can easily maneuver and swim in the water, but they are found most frequently crawling along the bottom. Like other crustaceans, grass shrimp can cast off legs and regenerate new ones. They grow by molting, shedding their exoskeletons and forming new, larger coverings. Between molts, a grass shrimp will eat almost anything, including its own exoskeleton. Grass shrimp are omnivores and feed on a range of plants and animals, including detritus, phytoplankton and other small invertebrates.    Because these shrimp are so common and consume algae and sea grasses, they play an important role in the ecology of the estuary. Grass shrimp are a major food source for larger predators in New England waters, such as fish and crabs. They break down detritus into tiny particles that are suspended in the water column, providing a rich food source for smaller organisms.
The mummichog is a killifish also known as mummies, gudgeons, and mud minnows are found in brackish and coastal waters along the eastern seaboard of the United States as well as Atlantic Canada .  It is noted for its hardiness and for being a popular research subject in embryological, physiological, and toxicological studies.
Mummichogs are typically found in muddy marshes, channels, and grass flats along coastal areas. They travel in schools that may contain hundreds of individuals. Indeed, the name mummichog is derived from a Native American term which means "going in crowds".untitled D7K_4421 August 23, 2011 NIKON D7000untitled D7K_4427 August 23, 2011 NIKON D7000
The mummichog spawns on new and full moons in the spring and summer. Its eggs are laid near the high tide mark in empty mollusk shells or on dead vegetation and can tolerate long-term exposure to air. Typically mummichogs reach sexual maturity during their second year and live for a total of three years.  Because of the extreme hardiness of the species, it is sometimes the only species found in severely polluted and oxygen deprived streams

The striped killifish (Fundulus majalis), also called the striped mummichog, is a North American species of saltwater killifishuntitled _ROT0004 August 23, 2011 NIKON D3S (occasionally also found in brackish water), dwelling in shallow coastal waters close to shore, and is found from New Hampshire to Florida
The blue crab is native to the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Argentina and around the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  It has been introduced (via ballast water) to Japanese and European waters, and has been observed in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.
The natural predators of the blue crab include eels, drum, striped bass, spot, trout, some sharks, humans, and cownose sting rays. The blue crab is an omnivore, eating both plants and animals. Blue crabs typically consume thin-shelled bivalves, annelids, small fish, plants and nearly any other item they can find, including carrion, other blue crabs and human waste.
untitled MSB_9306 August 23, 2011 NIKON D300S
Blue Crab in the water
untitled _ROT9891 August 23, 2011 NIKON D3Suntitled _ROT9932-Edit 2 August 23, 2011 NIKON D3Suntitled _ROT9947 copy-2 August 23, 2011 NIKON D3Suntitled Blue Crab_ROT9913 August 23, 2011 NIKON D3S