While working on a segment for a developing video nature program, Swamp Thing encountered a rare barrier island beach plant: Seabeach Amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus). This fleshy-leafed plant grows at the base (toe) of a primary dune, where summer sunlight can heat surface sand to more than 120°f. Seabeach amaranth is a pioneer dune-building plant. Its’ tiny seeds may remain dormant for many years above the high tide line before germinating after being scarified (cut) with sharp sand tumbled by storm surge waves sweeping high up on the beach. Its’ stems and leaves trap windswept sand, along with seeds of other dune-building plants, together forming a dune plant community that trap wind-swept sand in place—including our expensive beach nourishment sand. Though listed as a Federal Threatened Species, this plant’s presence does not prevent people’s enjoyment of a popular coastal beach, any more than do sea turtles or protected shorebirds. Proof positive we can share this world with other Earthlings by simply respecting the places where they live and we enjoy.
#fbf to earlier this year when I travelled to New Zealand with the @hecsaquatic crew (aka the greatest humans of all time). Epic Hawaii Skindiver article by an amazing story teller @bigisleboy24 and magical photos by @davidochoapt. If you haven’t already you can grab a copy at @flfreedivers. Let me know what you guys think!
Most people consider aspects of the natural world as static, as if they are a snapshot in time. However, ALL things in nature are in a constant fluctuation. From population dynamics, habitat characteristics, and other biological aspects to abiotic aspects like geology, chemistry, and physical characteristics of an area. Take this salt marsh for example. Islands are not a solid, unchanging phenomenon, but rather a fluid object, like the water that surrounds them. This barrier island off of North Carolina is a prime example of that. As the island migrates southward via the erosion of sand from the northern end via waves and wind, and the addition of sand through sedimentation on the south end, the biology of the island also shifts. A freshwater bubble exists beneath these islands, but towards the islands fringe, saltwater seeps in. Most plants are not tolerant of saltwater conditions, and that can be seen here. The oak forest that existed previously is currently dying, and being replaced by more salt tolerant grasses. Mountains erode, streams carve new paths in the valleys, plants constantly change the habitat conditions of an area, making it more suitable for other plants and organisms to come in, beavers dam streams and create ponds and wetlands. Nothing natural is static, and I have come to appreciate and love the changes that everything undergoes. How about you?
Want to see more images like this? Check out the Niccoli Photography website link in the bio (you can even purchase your favorite images there)!
Apparently it was national lighthouse day yesterday, so here’s the Hatteras lighthouse with the Milky Way behind it.
This was from my first attempt at astrophotography and needless to say, I’m ok with how it turned out.
This weekend is the Perseid meteor shower which can be seen Saturday and Sunday nights.
Over the past few months, we’ve worked closely with a professional photographer that decided to get involved and also give back. @barrier.island photos speak for themselves but let them speak to you. Head over to his page and follow the amazing photographer behind our amazing #operationosprey campaign and more. Thank you for choosing Operation Splash to work with, Sean! As always, stay tuned...