By Mary Kate Bolger
After spending 20 minutes convincing ourselves that we were, in fact, in Portugal and not in Ireland on a rainy day we set off for our first day of field work. We arrived at the rocky shore site at about a quarter to 11 and set to work straight away. First, we went down as close to the sea as possible and started to identify different species while avoiding the giant waves. Some species were very familiar to us and others were new including Siphonaria pectinata, a more delicate limpet. We then moved up to the mid-littoral zone and compared the species found at the different sites. We found a crab (see picture) that was obviously not as happy to see us as we were to see him.
After lunch we walked up to the salt marsh. We then had to complete 3 relevees to examine the zonation between a salt marsh, an embryonic sand dune, and a stable sand dune. We were all amazed to see the changes that occur in vegetation distribution within a relatively small distance! There were several species that we had never seen before and many of the plants were herbs that we use regularly including thyme, curry leaf, rosemary, and even asparagus.
Despite the weather we all enjoyed our first day and are looking forward to the rest of the trip!