Growing up in the countryside, it was almost a right of passage to be able to take a sting from a nettle and not complain. They were your enemy and your flailing cattle stick was useful to slice them down.
On the lower shore sponges can be found beneath rocks. Many are thousands of individual tiny individuals living together. They are simple animals. They absorb water and filter particles of food.
Photo: Paul Naylor www_marinephoto_co_uk
Form normally in thin areas of seaweeds. rocks, and seashells. Often feel chalky or slimy to touch and are made up of tiny animals called Zooids. Each animal is a kind of box and has a crown of tentacles.
Similar to sponges, these are complex animals. Some live in colonies and others are single. Can grow large, If gently squeezed, can squirt out a jet of water from it’s openings.
Sea Squirts – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascidiacea
Lichens are usually found high up on the splash zone, Tiny algae and fungus live together. Algae live on the inside and fungus on the outside – which provides shape and shelter for the algae (It’s such a beautiful relationship!!). Algae feed by using photosynthesis and then produce sugar which is consumed afterwards by the fungus.
Lichens do not have roots, but absorb water and gases through their upper surface, and are therefore sensitive to atmospheric pollution. For this reason they are rarely found around cities and grow best on the wetter west side of the British Isles. Those on trees thrive best on the sunny, south-west aspects of trunks and branches. Disappearance of lichen species can be used to detect rising levels of air pollution.
There are three main types. The encrusting forms, including the bright orange/dark yellow ‘Xanthoria’ grow on roofs, walls, gravestones, signs and tree trunks. Leaf-like species develop flat lobes spreading over bark or stones, and shrubby forms which grow vertically from the ground or hang from trees. Few have common names.
The main body of the lichen is called a Thallus and each species quite different. Thallus absorbs water from the rain, sea spray, fog and dew. Grow from some millimetres per year to a few centimetres per year, and can live in very typical difficult conditions.
Some Typical lichens:
Leaf encrusting form
Upright or erect form
Tufted form – http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1060980
Granular encrusting form – http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1753336
Seaweeds belong to the algae family. They are plant like organisms that live in water. They vary in size from small cells to plants 60 metres long. Some are found in seawater and others in fresh water.
Seaweed grows, makes food and reproduces only when covered with water; some survive without water longer than others.
They use photosynthesis to produce food. They don’t have leaves, stems, or roots but have fronds (to absorb light and water), a stipe, and a hold-fast to cling to surfaces
I came across the Hedge Bindweed between the car park and beach in Portmarnock. This October (2017) has been quite mild, and it seems many flowers are still around towards the end of their survival range of dates.
I came across this Wild Rose in Sandymount on the path to Irish town Nature Reserve. Despite having some good resources for identification proposes (see below), I failed to identify the flower. The reason is that the colour of this rose is varied, and you find them every shade from white to dark pink. They are frequently discovered developing wild among roadside bushes.