Sunday, September 16, 2012

A matching game for beach-goers

Summer is winding down and many people are logging their last days walking the beach, looking at the treasures that wash up with the tides. Outdoor exploration, such as beachcombing, offers a special opportunity to connect with and learn about the natural world. One can gain a personal appreciation, as well as acquire the understanding that each of us is an interdependent part of the earth’s ecosystem.

Can you match all the beach finds in this picture with the list below?  
The answer key is at the bottom of the post.

A study in beach finds (click to enlarge)

Lobster claw
Skate egg case
Blue mussel shells
Hermit crab molt
Surf clam shell
Sand dollar tests
Horseshoe crab molt
Moon snail shell
Moon snail shell with “snail fur”
Dog whelk
Green sea urchin tests
Knobbed whelk
Periwinkle shells
Bay scallop shell
Horse mussel shell
Channeled whelk egg cases
Waved whelk shell
Jonah crab molt
Waved whelk egg cases
Sea star

While we pick through the beautiful, mysterious, sometimes-smelly and fascinating finds on the beach, it's important to keep in mind that we are not just visitors to the seashore. Rather we are participating members of the coastal ecosystem community, capable of both directly and indirectly creating far-reaching impacts. The Aquarium's policy is to encourage beachcombers to limit collecting to a minimum, collecting only items that are in abundance and trying not to duplicate selections when collecting with a group. If you're in a group, try a limit of one item per person (fewer is even better). If possible, return the items when once your project or admiration is completed. This kind of responsible collecting can enhance an educational experience and encourage a lasting connection to the coastline, ultimately increasing awareness and stewardship.

Answers: I Lobster claw, N Skate egg case, D Blue mussel shells, L Hermit crab molt, Q Surf clam shell, H Sand dollar tests, A Horseshoe crab molt, S Moon snail shell, T Moon snail shell with “snail fur”, R Dog whelk, M Green sea urchin tests, J Knobbed whelk, K Periwinkle shells, P Bay scallop shell, O Horse mussel shell, C Channeled whelk egg cases, B Waved whelk shell, F Jonah crab molt, G Waved whelk egg cases, E Sea star 

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