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What is That in the Water?


June 1, 2005

As summer vacations approach, beachgoers might want to bring along a guide to what they and their children will see on the beach and in the water. WHOI scientists and educators have created Beachcomber’s Companion for adventures at the beach. It is an easy-to-use guide to common Atlantic coast marine invertebrates containing a set of 54 marine invertebrate identification cards, a mesh collecting bag, a species checklist with erasable marking pencil, and a clip for a beach bag. Beachcomber’s Companion is one of many summer resources available from the WHOI Sea Grant Program. Beachgoers may also run across gelatinous zooplankton, more commonly called jellyfish, washed ashore or in coastal waters where people swim and boat. Most are harmless but a few sting. WHOI scientists have studied jellyfish both in coastal waters and far offshore in the open ocean for decades and are conducting research on the creatures from the tropics to the poles. They also study right whales, which many vacationers may see on whale watching trips or hear about when marine mammals strand on beaches. For more information about current research projects on whales visit WHOI’s Ocean Life Institute.