Half-Hours at the Sea-Side — £ 3.99
Subtitled, Recreations with Marine Objects, this is a complete guide to what you might find on a visit to a typical British beach. In the sea, in rock pools, amongst the sand and stones or washed up by storms.
J. E. Taylor's aim was to - "make it a holiday book, – convenient, simple and untechnical." However, his enthusiasm for the subject ran away with him and 260 pages and 148 illustrations later, plus the latin names of everything he describes makes it a big book.
This eBook edition contains the entire text and all illustrations. Please see the extract below for a list of the contents and chapter 3, Half an hour with Sea-weeds.
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This is the original cover to the fourth edition of 1880. The only part not included is a short index.
The text and any images below are identical to the eBook; however, depending on the typeface, etc., that you select, they may not display here exactly as they do on your eReader. Also, pages turn as normal, rather than the scrolling effect seen here.
Half an hour with the waves
The pleasures of the sea-side. Antiquity of the ocean. Space formerly occupied by the gases composing water. Forces locked up in our seas. Relation of atmosphere to ditto. Theories of the tides. Peculiarity of sea-air, how caused. Waste of our coast-line. How waves are formed. Currents of the ocean. Their beneficial action on marine life. Depths of the sea. Saltness of ditto. Evidences of wave-action in ancient deposits. Relation of marine objects to dissolved minerals, &c. How the latter are disposed of.
Half an hour with preparations
Equipment of the zoological student. Fewness of objects required. Advantage of the microscope. Wet days at the sea-side. Bell-glasses for temporary aquaria. Anemone collecting. Local guide books. Implements, &c., required for shore-zoologising. How to set about the latter. The mysteries of a rock-pool. Pholades. The tow-net, how made. The study of deeper sea-life. The trawlmen and their "rubbish." Out trawling. Description of the trawl, &c.
Half an hour with sea-weeds
How to collect sea-weeds. Abundance of species between tides. The three groups of sea-weeds. Melanosperms, their larger size. Boots of sea-weeds. The "Bladder-wrack." Its air bladders. Fructification of sea-weeds. The Serrated Wrack. The Knotted Wrack. The Small Wrack. Laminaria. Halidrys. The Rhodosperms. Their deeper-water habit. Beauty of many species. Polysiphonia. Chlylocladia. Corallina officinalis. Capability of this and other species to secrete lime. Delesseria. Ptilota, Griffithsia, Rhodymenia, Porphyra, Plocamium, &c. The "Peacock" Laver. "Carrageen," or Irish Moss. The Chlorosperms. Enteromorpha, Ulva, Cladophora, Bryopsis, &c. How to mount sea-weeds. Necessity of marine vegetation to marine life, &c.
Half an hour with sponges
Popular notion of a sponge. British sponges. Chalina oculata. Its general structure. The three divisions of sponges. Ornamental character of silicated sponges. The "Glass Kope." Calcareous sponges. Their geological antiquity. Ventriculites, &c. Keratose sponges. Structure of Grantia. Halina, Leuconia, Microciona, Pachymatisma, &c. The boring sponges. Their geological antiquity. Halichondria species. General structure described. Economic value of sponges. Their great importance in geological operations. Their instrumentality in forming flints, &c.
Half an hour with sea-worms
The study of natural history. False popular notions respecting "imperfect" animals. The earth-worm and sea-worm. The two great groups of sea-worms, Tubicola and Errantia. Serpula, their abundance and general structure. Geological antiquity of the group. Spirorbis. The Crystal Palace aquarium. Sabella, Terebella, &c. The Errantia. The "Lob-worms." Antiquity of the family. Physiological structure. The "Sea-centipede." Alternation of generations. Eunice, Polynoe, Phyllodoce, Nemertes, &c. The Sipunculus. Harmony of creation.
Half an hour with Corallines
General notions respecting these objects. Their structure. Relations to the Hydras. Tubularians, or "Pipe-corallines." The various species described. The Sertularians, or "sea-firs." Their general structure. The five genera. The "Bottle-brush" coralline, "Sickle" coralline, "Sea-hair" coralline, "Sea-oak" coralline, "Fern" coralline, "Squirrel's-tail" coralline, "Sea-cypress" coralline, &c. The Campanularidæ. Their reproduction in medusoids, or jelly-fish. The "Bird's-head" coralline, "Lobster's-horn" coralline, &c. Alternation of generation in the group. Relation of the jelly-fish to them, &c.
Half an hour with jelly-fish
The appearance of jelly-fish when stranded, and when in the sea. Natural history of the group. Zoological division of ditto. The "Crimson-ringed" jelly-fish. Its general structure. Stages through which the young pass before reaching adult. Hydra tuba, &c. Cyanea, Thaumantia, Turris, Sarsia, Æquora. The "Portuguese Man-of-war." Velella. The Beröe. Its beauty. Lucernaria. Small quantity of solid matter in jelly-fish. Production of marine phosphorescence.
Half an hour with sea-anemones
Popularity of the study of anemones. Favourites in the marine aquarium. No. of British species. Their zoological characters and divisions. General structure. Comparison with corallines. Actinoloba. Sagartia. Nettling power and organs of latter described. Mimicry. "Daisy anemone," "Cave" ditto, "Rosy" ditto. Mr. Gosse's description of latter. "Orange-disked" anemone, "Parasitic" anemone, &c. Adamsia. The "Opelet," "Beadlet," &c. Longevity and hardy nature of latter. The "Crass," "Strawberry" anemone, &c.
Half an hour with sea-mats and squirts
The Greek physicists. The sea as a life producer. General character of sea-mats. The Flustra. Zoological relations of the group. Its general structure illustrated. Relations to the Brachiopoda. The various species described. The Tunicata, or "sea-squirts." Their zoological characters. The Ascidians. Their structure. Formation of cellulose in outer skin. Cynthia, or "currant-squirter." The Botryllus. Species described. Clavelina, Lepralia, &c. The Salpa. Its alternation of generations, &c.
Half an hour with sea-urchins and star-fish
General structure of the above. That of the Echinus detailed. Physiological organisation. Microscopical structure, &c. Pedicellaria. Spicules of different species. The Spatangus, "Cushion-stars," &c. The "five-fingered star-fish." General structure of the class. What they feed upon. Ophiura, Solaster, &c. The "Brittle stars" Professor Forbes on ditto. Ophiocoma. Mr. Kitton's description of hooks, &c. Different species of "Brittle stars" described. The Encrinites. Their geological antiquity. The "Feather-stars." The sea-cucumbers. Spiculæ of ditto, &c.
Half an hour with shell-fish (Univalves)
Beauty and popularity of shells. Mathematical laws of construction. Moseley on ditto. Divisions of the group. The Cephalopoda, or "Cuttle-fish." Geological antiquity of many groups. The "Octopus." Physiological details of the structure of "Cuttle-fish." Calamaries and squids. Sepia. "Sea-grapes," the eggs of Cuttle-fish. Loligo. The Pteropoda. The Gasteropoda division of mollusca. Naked-gilled ditto. Univalves. Limpet, Chitons, Trochus, Littorina, Nassa, Cyprea, Purpura, Natica, Dentalium. Whelks, &c. Egg-cases of latter, &c.
Half an hour with shell-fish (Bivalves)
Fertility of mollusca. Geological importance of their valves. The Brachiopoda. Their geological antiquity. Relation to sea-mats. Their physiological structure. The Lamellibranchiata. General structure. Mussels, "Razor-shells," Scallops, &c. Mr. Gosse's description of latter. Pholas: its boring powers. Speculation on ditto. How achieved. The Mactras, Tellinas, Donax, &c. Mya arenaria and truncata. Thracia, Tapes, "Otter-shells," &c. Astartes, Lucina, Cyprina, Crenella, Nucula, Leda, Pectunculus, Pinna, &c. The smaller species.
Half an hour with Crustacea
Changes in the young of Crustacea. Relation of barnacles to crabs and lobsters. Balanus, Scalpellum, Lepas, &c. Transformations of former. The physiological structure of the Cirripedia. Division of Crustacea into groups described. Physiological characters detailed. The "Spider-Crabs." The great, or common crab. Moulting of Crutacea. Wood on ditto. "Shore" crab, "Porcelain" crab, "Pea" crabs, "Nut" crabs, "Angled" crab, "Masked" crab, "Northern Stone" crab, "Spiny" crab, "Velvet Swimming" crab, &c. Hermit crabs. The Pycnogonidæ. Pallene, Nymphon, &c. Squat lobsters. Spiny lobsters, Gammarus. Prawns and Shrimps. Parasites of ditto. Amphipods, &c. Conclusion.
Half an hour with sea-weeds
It may have occupied you, gentle reader, the whole morning, in collecting the treasures to which we are about to devote half an hour's gossip. To be successful in collecting sea-weeds, you ought to follow the retreating tide step by step. When it has reached its farthest, then you may expect to be rewarded, especially if the sea bottom be rocky and uneven. There is nothing like broken ground for studying the marine flora. As you have walked along you have been surprised at the marvellous abundance of sea-weeds of every size and colour, occupying nearly every available patch of the area.
If we cut one of these tips or tubercles across, then each frustrule will be seen representing a cell or internal cavity, enclosing, in one plant, what are called antheridia, and, in another, the spores (see Fig. 8, a). The former are usually regarded as the male, and the latter as the female organs. In every case, both are produced on separate plants. The antheridia are little bags containing small bodies called zoospores (b). These no sooner escape in the way mentioned, than they move about in the water as if they were little animals, and not plants at all. The spores are little grains of an oblong shape, which ultimately separate into a certain number of parts (c). These perform the functions of seeds, which are fertilised by the zoospores, just as the ovules are by the pollen of flowering plants.
The serrated wrack (Fucus serratus) resembles the vesiculosus in its general form, but it may at once be distinguished by its having no air-bladders, and by the edges of the fronds being serrated. Like the former, its fruit is borne at the tips of the fronds. Indeed, this species is usually recommended as the best for microscopical examination of the phenomena we have been describing. Professor Harvey advises that fresh specimens should be collected in winter or early spring, and, being removed from the water, that they should be left till they were partially dry. As the surface dries there will exude from the pores of the receptacle drops of a thick orange-coloured fluid, which, on being placed under a microscope and moistened with salt water, will be seen to be composed of innumerable cellules, from which will issue troops of these atoms. No sooner are they liberated, than they commence those singular zoosporic motions which naturalists have found so difficult to reconcile with vegetable life. The species of "sea-wrack" however, that is best known, especially for the explosive power of its bladders when treated in the manner aforesaid, is the "knotted wrack" (Fucus nodosus, Fig. 9).
In this species the receptacles which form the fructification are not terminal, as in that just mentioned, but are borne in stalks or pedicels issuing from either side of the fronds. In the "knotted wrack," also, the spore separates into four, whence their name of tetraspores (Fig. 9 a). In the "serrated wrack," however, these spores divide into eight parts, called sporules. Another kind of wrack, nearly as well known as the above, is the Fucus canaliculatus, having fronds only a few inches in length, and the spores separated into two spores (see Fig. 10 a). Besides the above, there are two or three other species of Fucus, of a less common occurrence. The word "wrack," it may be observed, is derived from the French varec, which signifies a sea-weed.
After a storm, you will scarcely fail to see strewn on the beach, just above high-water mark, a sea-weed with a long thick stem of three or four feet, and having its leaves or fronds digitate, or separating from a common base, just like the fingers of the human hand. This is the Laminaria digitata. An allied and almost equally common species, distinguished by the greater length of its fronds, is L. saccharina. After this weed has been lying in the sun for a few hours, it becomes more or less covered with a hoar-frost-like substance, which is sweet, and resembles the "mannite" sold in chemists' shops, hence the name of the species. The stems of the two latter are tough, and become hard when dried, so that it is not uncommon to see portions turned into fork handles, the prong of the fork being inserted when the portion was soft, and recently cut off.
The Rhodosperms comprehend the most beautiful of all species of sea-weeds, and hence they are most sought after by collectors, and for ornamental purposes. Their tints of scarlet and red are of various shades, and the group includes species whose fronds are not red at all. Nearly every species grows submerged, and a large number of them in deep water. The latter, therefore, can only be obtained by dredging, or after a storm has uprooted them and cast them ashore. Even then, unless you be fortunate enough to gather them soon after they have been cast up, they will be almost worthless for herbarium purposes, on account of their being soon acted upon by the sun, so as to lose their bright colours. On the stems of Laminaria, above-mentioned, we may find the peculiar dark-red Polysiphonia urceolata, whose jar-shaped fruits are very pretty objects when seen through a low magnifying power. The Chlylocladia articulate, also, is a good specimen to mount, because of the readiness with which it adheres. This can easily be identified by the jointed branches, whence its specific name. Unfortunately, however, it soon fades, even in the herbarium, but it remains a pretty object nevertheless. In the little rock-pools you will notice the sides frequently covered with a red, limy incrustation. This is the base of the coralline sea-weed
(Corallina officinalis, Fig. 12), a little plant of great interest, and long believed to belong to the animal kingdom, on account of the quantity of carbonate of lime it secretes. It soon bleaches, and then assumes a tint of dirty whiteness. Other algae are now known which have the same power of secreting lime, among which are the genera Jania, Acetabularia, Liagora, and Melobesia. Perhaps one of the most beautiful of the Rhodosperms is the Delesseria sanguinea, whose specific name greatly assists in its identification. Its colour is of the most beautiful scarlet, and you may further learn to distinguish it by its mid-rib and distinct nervures. Few objects look better in the herbarium, as it dries well without losing its colour, and its mucus acts as a natural gum and causes it to adhere firmly. The Ptilota plumose is another beautiful red sea-weed, whose feather-like fronds will assist you in identifying it. The stiffer, bristle-like fronds of Griffithsia setacea are worth notice, and you will hardly fail to find it growing in the darker crannies of the rock-pools. When a newly-gathered specimen is placed in fresh water, the membrane bursts, and the red colouring-matter is shot out.
A common, but not obscure sea-weed, is the "Dulse," Eliodymenia palmate (Fig. 13), so called from its palmate form. This is an edible weed, and capable of being cooked. The fronds of the Porphyra laciniata much resemble the common green laver, except that they are of a bright scarlet. They are so thin that they cling to your fingers like a film when you attempt to lift them out of the water, and they give the young beginner infinite trouble in his endeavours to arrange them in his herbarium. Abundant in almost every rock-pool you will find the Plocamium coccineum (Fig. 14), a weed with a beautiful crimson hue, which, as usual, soon fades, and ultimately subsides into a dirty white.
Occasionally you may stumble across a rarity or two, such as the "Peacock," or "Turkey-feather" laver (Padina pavonia), growing where it can enjoy the full light and heat of the sun. This is one of the most charming of all our sea-weeds, and from its varying tints well deserves the name of "Peacock." Nitopliyllum punctatum is also a handsome plant, which can easily be distinguished from the Delesseria, to which it bears some resemblance, by the absence of a mid-rib. Its colour is of a delicate crimson hue. The "Carrageen," or "Irish" moss (Chondrus crispus, Fig. 15), is well known from its supposed medicinal powers. Although it is included among the Rhodosperms, it is often of a pale greenish colour. It grows in large masses, and is one of our commonest weeds. When washed and boiled down into a jelly, flavoured with lemon, it is said to be very pleasant.
The black or olive-coloured sea-weeds may be distinguished for their size, and the red for their beauty, but there can be no doubt that the green (Chlorosperms) are by far the most abundant. You can hardly stir at low water without noticing meadows of a fine, thread-like sea-weed mantling every stone and piece of rock with its dark, almost sap-green. This is the Enteromorpha compressa, a plant capable of great variation in the shape and size of its fronds. All the true green sea-weeds are notorious for their power of secreting oxygen, and this peculiarity must be of great value to the marine animals, which find at once a protection and invigoration amid their dense fronds. This oxygen-forming power is especially noticeable in the common green laver (Ulva latissima), hence its value in the marine aquarium. Very abundant almost everywhere the young collector will find Cladophora rupestris and C. arcta; the former a coarse, horse-hair sort of sea-weed, and the latter a trifle prettier. But by far the most graceful and elegant of the Melanosperms is the pretty little Bryopsis plumose, not a common plant, and one which, once seen, will be always remembered afterwards. Its specific name of "feathery" is a capital description of its general appearance.
"Ever drifting, drifting, drifting,
On the shifting
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered coves, and reaches
Of sandy beaches,
All have found repose again."