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Polychaete research in the Falklands by Teresa Darbyshire - Day 2

So, Freya and I tramped down to the local shore in our wellies and waterproof trousers earlier. The wind was whistling around us but was surprisingly not as cold as you might expect. I introduced Freya to the delights of attacking a shoreline with a large garden fork and then having to peer at the results as if you’ve lost a contact lens (photo 1). There is not a large tidal range here, less than 1.5m which for someone used to the 10m range of the Bristol Channel is tiny. Still we found a reasonable range of little worms, some excitingly large, others eye-strainingly small and did our best to keep them from breaking into several smaller pieces before we could get them back to the lab.

Falklands beach
Photo 1: Searching for polychaete worms on the shore.

We sampled 3 sites down the shore and, not surprisingly with such a small tidal range, found that the specimens varied little between samples and there was not a high diversity within those. That said, I have a nice collection just from today covering at least 12 different family groups and slightly more species. The most striking was a very stripy phyllodocid looking as if it had just escaped from jail (photo 2) and a terebellid with a fantastic ‘80s crimp to its gills (photo 3). Not the best photos I admit but I am hoping to access the camera microscope soon!

Phyllodocid worm
Photo 2: Phyllodocid worm found today.

Tomorrow will be a new site, hopefully with different animals to find. Luckily I havebeen given a landrover to use as I need to get around. I’m just about used to it now and have stopped hopping along when I set off!. 4x4’s are the only vehicles seen on the roads and I’m very grateful to the complete stranger who has entrusted me with this vehicle to use while he is away! People here are very friendly, nothing is locked and doors are left open. In paranoia, I did try to lock the landrover last night but found that the locks were so unused that I couldn’t get a key in them!

Terebellid worm
Photo 3: A Terebellid worm with a fancy 80s-style 'perm' to its gills.


Falkland Island map
Map showing where I sampled on Day 2.

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