Journal archives for March 2017

March 20, 2017

Turritopsis - West Coast

Currently washing up on our west coast shores are Turritopsis, with the first one found in Bayleys Beach in Jan 2017 by @simonnicholas then in Mar 2017 @jacqui-nz found more at Karekare and contacted me to see if I had seen them. Needless to say I was off and found them out on the Tohe - 90 Mile Beach. How many more can we find? http://inaturalist.nz/observations/5220928 is the obs with lots of info about these :)

Posted on March 20, 2017 22:19 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 2 comments | Leave a comment

March 23, 2017

Exploring Dune Lakes - A New World

Dune lakes are formed where water gathers in depressions between dunes and over time these become habitats for flora and fauna.

It is wonderful to live within my tribal lands, with the east coast beaches just outside, the west coast beaches 10kms as the manu fly (and the locals drive) and gumlands galore. We also have dune lakes and I did not realise how rare these were until I was invited to go with the NIWA dive team on the dune lake survey up these ways and naturally I jumped at the chance :)

Differences Between Salt Water and Fresh Water
Now I have always fluffed around in the oceans and found fluffing in dune lakes a whole different experience!

When in the moana I orintate myself by the sound of the surf, but in a dune lake there are not sounds of the surf! Thankfully people were talking on the shore and that is how I knew where I was.

Dune lakes, being fresh water also meant that I didn't float as well which took a bit of getting used to.

Water temp is also different and the water got into my suit faster than usual and I found that cold. It took far longer for me to warm up once out. Usually within walking about 50m I start taking off my hood then jacket - this time it was about 500m until the hood came off and another 400m until the jacket was undone. Even in winter in the moana it does not take that long!

Visability was another huge difference - 600mm down and it is all black - like a night dive!

As for photographing underwater - that was another whole new ball game. I have an underwater setting on my camera. If taking a photo out of the water on that setting it puts a red tint through the photos, but gives true colours under water. However, the underwater setting in a dune lake does not give true colours - the green plants became yellow, so I had to fluff around with different settings and finally found that a normal setting is what works.

And last, but not least the flora and fauna in dunes lakes are different.

Posted on March 23, 2017 19:45 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

March 27, 2017

Hunt for Meridiastra mortenseni - A Cushion Star

I am sure we all know the New Zealand Common Cushion Star (Patiriella regularis) and have walked past them many times without taking too much notice - I know I have! However, there is also another common endemic cushion star that lurks in the same habitat as @clinton pointed out to me in this obs and we do not have it on NW yet.

The M.mortenseni is dark red or blue and looks smooth when wet whereas the common one is not. If you look at all of the common cushion star obs found you will be able to see quite clearly at a glance that they are not smooth.

Habitat
Same as the New Zealand Common Cushion Star (Patiriella regularis).

What to photograph
Both the top and underside of the cushion star to help with ID.

Happy Hunting!

Posted on March 27, 2017 22:11 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 6 comments | Leave a comment