Guide Natural Science, Part 1: Tide Pools

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Many of the animals are invertebrates, but there are also marine algae , which provide food and shelter, plankton in the water column, and fresh nutrients delivered regularly by the tides. There are also plenty of opportunities for shelter for animals such as sea urchins, crabs, and baby lobsters, who hide in seaweeds, under rocks, and burrow in sand and gravel.

Tide pool animals are hardy, but they won't survive for long in a beach pail or your bathtub. They need fresh oxygen and water, and many depend on tiny organisms in the water to feed upon. So, when you visit a tide pool, quietly observe what you see. The quieter and calmer you are, the more likely you will be to see more marine life. You can pick up rocks and view the animals underneath, but always put the rocks back gently.

If you pick the animals up, put them back where you found them.

Many of these animals live in a small, very specific area. He explored the tidal pool and found sea urchins , starfish , and crabs. Share Flipboard Email. Jennifer Kennedy is an environmental educator who has more than 20 years of experience studying and educating the public about the oceans. Updated January 24, There are many marine species found in tide pools, from plants to animals. Invertebrates found in tide pools include:.

Gastropods such as periwinkles, whelks, and nudibranchs Bivalves such as mussels Crustaceans such as barnacles, crabs, and lobsters Echinoderms such as sea stars and sea urchins. Seabirds also frequent tide pools, where they wade or dive for prey. Here, you can see how great the polarizing filter works for getting rid of reflections:.

And here, you can see why sometimes that's not what you want -- the reflection of the starfish in the water is what makes the photograph much more compelling: 4. Bring The Right Lenses I don't have a wide selection of lenses at home, but I brought two that I thought I'd be most likely to use -- my mm for catching birds and other wildlife, and my mm for the closer shots of small tide pool animals.

Neither lens worked that well for me since the mm required me to be too far from the tiny animals, and the mm couldn't quite get me close enough. Rebecca brought a 60mm macro lens -- like in Goldilocks, it is just right. It's Okay to Move Things Around, If You're Gentle and Considerate to the Wildlife I am of the mind that a nature photographer captures what is going on in front of her, without disturbing the flora and fauna at all if possible.

And for the most part, that remains the case.

Strong tides may have pushed ancient fish to evolve limbs | Science | AAAS

However, I did loosen up a little at the tide pools after watching a professional conservation photographer whose ethics for protecting wildlife I'd never question. When it comes to the hardier animals, such as starfish that aren't attached to large rocks, it's fine to pick them up and move them around for a different shot as long as you're gentle. We started shooting the starfish as found:. However, when it comes to delicate wildlife , look and photograph, but don't touch. Just use common sense, and try to put the animal's and plant's well-being before getting a photograph.

Also, don't touch tide pool creatures at all if you have any sort of sunscreen, insect repellent or other chemical on your hand -- this is toxic to them. Rebecca showed me that manual focus is the way to go for getting sharp images of small creatures.


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However, it can be tough to get your focus just right especially if you're using a shallow depth of field. The trick to get it just right is to use live view if your camera has this feature. Turn on live view and zoom in as far as you can. Then, use your focus ring to get your subject perfectly sharp.

Finally, release the shutter and Voila!

Starfish - Pink

A tack-sharp image. It was the only way I could get even close to a sharp image of this nudibranch with my mm lens, which made me feel like I was a million miles away from the little creature.


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  • Even cropped way, way in, it's much sharper than it may otherwise have been:. Clean Your Gear Afterward Rebecca let me know a smart idea for after we got home. She reminded me that while we don't really notice it, there's a lot of salt in the air at the beach, and any gear you are using is quietly collecting that salt.

    After getting home, use a damp rag to wipe down any gear you had out to remove the thin film of salt that it was exposed to. I probably would have skipped this figuring that as long as no salt water splashed directly on my camera I'd be fine. But I was sure to wipe down my gear when I got home.


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    • Instead of keeping an eye out for lovely colors, keep an eye out for gorgeous textures. Getting contrasts in texture can be as powerful as contrasts in color, and tide pools are filled with every texture you can imagine!

      Got a tip?

      More Tips for Point-N-Shoot Cameras If you're heading to the tide pools with your point-n-shoot, still follow some of the suggestions above, such as heading out early, using a tripod, being gentle with the wildlife, and cleaning your camera after you get home. A study shows that shows this would be the The findings could radically improve the treatment for The researchers used new The study includes No, experts argue in an opinion article publishing on July 3 in the journal Trends in Plant Science.

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