local tropical collecting NY, unusually warm water, no mussel beds

homegrowncichlid

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Went out to the usual places under bridges and such to free dive along the south side and hand net butterflies and see that the usual mussel beds have all died out. I've noticed this past month, while seine at Oak Beach, that the water was warmer. At this time of year end of July, the water is almost hitting 75F, however I think that the cold water flush with the incoming tides were warmer too. Instead of the usual mussel beds, macro and sponges, I see some sponges at about 10 feet, but lots of white die out with fuzzy white growth covering everything above that. There were also just some barnacles. Also with this change, I also observed lots and lots of blue crabs, munching on the barnacles in the shallow water. The crabs were striping the barnacles off the pilons till they were bare, No butterflies to be seen feeding off the mussels.
In the past, the pilons would be covered with mussels and they are cold water creatures. I believe the mussels should be there at this time of year, since by now the butterflies would be dime sized. In a couple of weeks, they would be quarter sized, but I won't be able to collect this year. Its possible the mussel beds are a few feet deeper also, but they would be below my ability to hold my breath that long.
Just to check, I went to the bottom and took a look at the pilons, the sponges and stony corals are still there, a couple of urchins, it looked normal, but very few mussels.
Its also possible there is a blue crab population bloom, and they have eaten all the weakened mussels. Too many possibilities, but the water is pretty warm. Needless to say, warmer water should see an increase in stray tropical fish.
 

Alfredo De La Fe

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Went out to the usual places under bridges and such to free dive along the south side and hand net butterflies and see that the usual mussel beds have all died out. I've noticed this past month, while seine at Oak Beach, that the water was warmer. At this time of year end of July, the water is almost hitting 75F, however I think that the cold water flush with the incoming tides were warmer too. Instead of the usual mussel beds, macro and sponges, I see some sponges at about 10 feet, but lots of white die out with fuzzy white growth covering everything above that. There were also just some barnacles. Also with this change, I also observed lots and lots of blue crabs, munching on the barnacles in the shallow water. The crabs were striping the barnacles off the pilons till they were bare, No butterflies to be seen feeding off the mussels.
In the past, the pilons would be covered with mussels and they are cold water creatures. I believe the mussels should be there at this time of year, since by now the butterflies would be dime sized. In a couple of weeks, they would be quarter sized, but I won't be able to collect this year. Its possible the mussel beds are a few feet deeper also, but they would be below my ability to hold my breath that long.
Just to check, I went to the bottom and took a look at the pilons, the sponges and stony corals are still there, a couple of urchins, it looked normal, but very few mussels.
Its also possible there is a blue crab population bloom, and they have eaten all the weakened mussels. Too many possibilities, but the water is pretty warm. Needless to say, warmer water should see an increase in stray tropical fish.
I have wanted to go diving in NY but never had the chance... How big are the urchins? I wonder if these are edible.


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homegrowncichlid

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Ah the north atlantic purple urchin. They hare omnivores and will catch sleeping killifish, other wise I'd keep them in my tank. Found all the way down to Florida. the ones I see are 4 inches in size. Did I forget to mention, there were blue crabs everywhere? scaring all the gobies and other little fish away.
 

homegrowncichlid

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Snorkeled at Jamaica Bay today, water is about 80 to 85F, found some clingfish gobies and this other blenny/wrasse. More Worm rock, and also included the sample of coral. Should be a brownish color, but this appears very bleached. If anyone knows what blenny this is, let me know. Ah, Chasmodes bosquianus

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homegrowncichlid

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during high tide slack, when the water stops flowing, I can see 3 to 5 feet. At the opposite extreme, at the nadir of low tide, again when the water stops moving, I can see, but while the water is moving, the visibility is 2 feet or worst. It depends on which way the water is moving, fresh clean seawater coming in, or the murky water going out. Also depends on location, I'm really close to shore, under bridges and such, where muddy water moves quickly. Out to sea, visibility can be pretty good, since I know a few spear fisherman.
 

homegrowncichlid

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LOL, read the whole article, got to the bottom and it was coauthored by Paul B. heh. Yes, our local hero. Also provides a good list of tropical strays I'll keep an eye out for tomorrow, once the thunder showers pass.
 
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