Building a macrofauna library

Vials of representative specimens for my macrofauna library
Beginning of our macrofauna library

Just back from a whirlwind trip to Friday Harbor Labs.  There, with the help of an expert, I was able to begin building my library of the species that live in subtidal soft sediments in the Seattle area. As I drove from Anacortes to Seattle, my vials of macrofauna in ethanol rode along in the passenger’s seat.  Together, we boarded a ferry for San Juan Island, where we spent the next few days looking deep into eachothers’ eyes under the romantic lighting of a dissection scope.

Vial containing Spiochaetopterus worms
Vial of Spiochaetopterus worms!

Thanks so much to Megan Dethier for all her help as I dive into the world of infauna.  You wouldn’t believe how many families of polychaetes there are, or how complicated a dichotomous key for snails can be!  We’ve made good headway though, and I’ve already accumulated a large number of tiny vials containing representative specimens (see photo).

In addition, I’m compiling a written key for lab techs that hopefully will require less time than the all knowing and ever complex invertebrate bible, Kozloff’s “Marine Invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest.”

More soon on my favorite specimens and strangest finds!