Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Life

Florida spiderlily (Hymenocallis tridentata) in bloom

Although our sampling season at FAU has been a bit different then I expected, leaving us in the laboratory for 2 months with no way to complete our field sampling, I have been fortunate enough to be in the field for two weeks at the end of May!! Woohoo! We finally got all the stars aligned...funding, weather conditions, and field sampling conditions. So for two weeks I was back on the helicopter flying into the far reaching parts of the Everglades, picking fish and shrimp out of a small mesh seine, marching through muck that is now thigh deep, and generally enjoying myself.
Seining for fish, shrimp, crayfish, insects, etc...the muck in the southern Everglades is much thicker. It looks messy, but it feels like the finest silk oozing through your fingers.

Since it's been such a long time since we've been out, I observed all kinds of new and exciting growth in the swamp.
Native Apple Snail eggs on the stalks of Sagittaria spp.

A dwarf bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree that has finally leafed out and now has a luscious green top.

Cypress seed/cone!

A fuzzy airplant inconspicuously growing in the boughs of the cypress.

Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) inflorescence.
Sawgrass is extremely abundant throughout the Everglades. It has evolved to include saw tooth edges on three sides of it's leaves, making it a virtual paper-cut machine. It can be extremely painful if not handled gently. Some sections of sawgrass are well over my head, and walking through these areas typically involves me launching my entire body up against the wall of sawgrass, matting it down, walking over the matted area, then launching myself at the next wall, rinse and repeat. It's amazing how prolific this plant is! I have a lot of respect for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice Florida Spiderlily!