Yesterday morning we had a wonderful experience working with collaborators from University College Cork to look at soft-sediment communities in the north and south basins of Lough Hyne. We used a Van Veen grab to scoop mud from the bottom of the lough and then sieved the samples to collect macrofauna (organisms visible with the naked eye).
We had a lot of fun sifting through the soft-sediment organisms and discovering the incredible diversity of yet another habitat of Lough Hyne.
Worms were abundant, and we found a nemertean (ribbon worm) species that is likely the same as one found in Oregon.
One of our favorite finds was a group of stunning red terebellid worms (spaghetti worms) that were full of eggs and were releasing them into our sample dish.
We also saw other common mud-dwellers, such as crabs, clams, and snails.
Getting to know the soft-sediment macrofauna was thrilling, but even better was getting to know local researchers who were enthusiastic about sharing their extensive knowledge of Lough Hyne ecology with us. We’re glad that scientists here enjoy playing in the mud as much as we do at home!