Nurdles up close
In addition to reading about our nurdling adventers in Kristina's article (https://www.coastalmasternaturalists.org/articles/136136-nurdle-patrol) I thought it might be interesting to share some photomicrographs of some of the nurdles I collected. Note that photomicrograph is just the 25-cent word for "picture through a microscope." All of the below pictures were taken through a dissecting scope at relativley low magnification, using a focus-stacking technique to a bigger depth of field. For scale, check out this unstacked image:below.
This is the reverse side of the second nurdle below and includes a 2mm scale bar. Don't be confused by the 1X label, that just means I was using a 1X magnification objective which is combined with the magnification of the camera. Just compare the scale bar to the nurdles, they are all scaled to this image.
I only found a few "recent" nurdles. I hope this is a good thing, indicating they are not rapidly entering our marine environemnt. New nurdles were relatively smooth and shiny:
But as they stay in the environment, they start to be worn, as you can see in the sand grain scratches and imprints in this specimen:
They can also absorb organic compounds which can change their color (although this example might also just be a different plastic formulation):
Continued time in the coastal area leads to increasing amounts of weathering and reduces the size of the nurdles as small pieces are shed. You can see some of these processes in these nurdles.
Not all the nurdles found were round or disc-shaped (lenticular), some were cylindrical:
And not everything at this scale was a pollutant. Here is a snail shell of similar dimensions to the nurdles. I kept this to remind myself of how similar these nurdles are to "real food" items in the coastal environment. Helping to monitor them is not just fun, it can help keep our local waters more healthy.
Fondness for Fungi
Our January “Walk and Talk” at Caw Caw Interpretive Center featured a “Fondness for Fungi” with...
May Think & Drink and Walk & Talk
Was conducted by newly graduated Master Naturalist Gabe Shuler, a naturalist employed at Cypress...
Walk & Talk - Cypress Gardens tour with Gabe Schuler
Saturday, May 21, 2022It was a warm but cloudy day, which made it a perfect morning for our walk...
November Walk & Talk
Charlotte Hope, retired SCDNR and eagle observer for decades, shared her extensive knowledge...
On October 22, 2022, we joined Matt Rutter, a professor in the Department of Biology at the...
Caw Caw BioBlitz with world-renowned naturalist Peter Alden
February 5th saw the Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel host its first ever BioBlitz, and...