Saturday, April 28, 2012

For the love of barnacles

On the recent trip to North Stradbroke Island, I was delighted to spend a couple of days working around the rockpools formed in large shelves that reach from sand to ocean water at Point Lookout. The rockpools are like little treasure chests waiting to be explored and with the changing tides, constantly being refreshed. I sat for a couple of hours watching tiny fish, sea urchins, crabs and various seaweed, sponges and molluscs moving about in their clear aquatic miniature worlds. Various 'tide lines' were evident in the pools with algae and vegetative growth establishing distinct horizontal zones in areas. I had to laugh at one small fish in particular and admire the quirky nature of life forms, the Blennie, possibly a Peacock Rockskipper, had what looked like miniature reindeer antlers (or fir trees) growing from the top of it's head and a wide docile smile. I wouldn't have imagined antlers on a fish. I made some funny drawings of it as it darted in and out of the seaweeds, eyeballing me at times! When I get to making some artworks from this experience, I'm sure I'll have fun.

In keeping with the theme of rockpools, I've just finished reading Rebecca Stott's book Darwin and the Barnacle, which I found totally fascinating. Stott has woven much history and interesting family life of Charles Darwin into the story of his life and eight years work to classify species of barnacle from throughout the world, which included a couple from Moreton Bay. It gives a great insight to that time and period of naturalist work.

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