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buoy covered with barnacles

Hitchhikers of the ocean kind

A buoy recently recovered off the coast of California was encrusted with a large number of pelagic gooseneck barnacles. The buoy had only been in the ocean for six months, which is all the time it took for swimming, planktonic barnacle larvae to settle on the buoy and grow into the estimated 1,000 pounds of barnacles. Buoys and mooring systems provide scientists with the ability to observe changes in the ocean over months or years. This long-term data can help researchers better understand climate change, life in the ocean, and coastal oceanography. (Photo courtesy of James Dunn, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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