Recently, a couple of members of the Marine Research Group came down to Geelong to see the ascidians at St Helens. That location is one of the few accessible ones on my side of town, so I had become very familiar with the various species that were there.
Not this one!
There was a white plant or animal growing over large areas of the floating pontoon. This had led to a massive reduction in all types of sea squirts: the lightbulb ascidians, the Pyura species and the botrylloides we were looking for. There was a loose similarity to a type of ascidian I’d seen before that belonged to the Didemnidae family.
I ended up with over 114 photos that day so decided to put this on the ‘too hard’ list. It was my first field trip with any member of the field nats and I had a lot of new information to process!
Fortunately, one of the people I was with messaged me that night suggesting that the species could be Erythropodium hicksoni.
After a quick read, it certainly looks like the species. I’m going to keep an eye on the area and see how different types of marine life ebb and flow over long periods of time.
Coral growing over sea squirts
I got a lot of photos of the coral growing over sea squirts. Interestingly, it seems to favour the species I’ve identified as Pyura Dalbyi.