On Sat 22nd June, our Master’s in Marine Science and Climate Change students and lecturer Dr Awantha Dissanayake visited Gibraltar’s Mid-Harbour Small Boat Marina (MHSBM) to collect samples of mussels, large clumps of which are clearly visible and readily accessible at various locations within the marina. Mussels create an environment between them which is home to many plant and animal species. Samples collected at the marina, mostly around G-pier, were compared with samples collected at Rosia Bay.
Findings of field study
The purpose of the study was to compare what grows on and between the mussels. Though separated by a short distance, the environments at Rosia vs the MHSBM are quite different. At MHSBM, on floating pontoons the mussels rise and fall with the tide and are never exposed. At Rosia, growing on fixed rocks, exposure at low tide puts the mussels under regular and stresses, such as increasing temperatures and drying out. This and several other local differences (water flow, wave action among others) makes for quite marked differences in the biodiversity of the micro-environments, as was seen when the samples were studied that afternoon at the University laboratories.
Our thanks and appreciation to the boat owners at MHSBM and hope we shall be welcome in the future for further studies.
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