washed up

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by Pho, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Pho

    Pho Member

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    Following a major storm on the south coast of England, the beach is littered with thousands of examples of an object which I have not seen before and cannot identify. I am not even certain it is vegetable in origin, but any help in identifying it would be very much appreciated.

    It is a soft, squishy flattened ball, orangey brown in colour, typically 5cm diameter and about 3cm thick, but size varies, with a soft thin smooth outer skin. Inside a more orange spongy consistency, with small grey particles which look like seeds randomly inset.

    A photo is attached.

    Thanks
     

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  2. Andrey Zharkikh

    Andrey Zharkikh Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    :) Well done! Happy new year!
     
  3. Pho

    Pho Member

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    Not a joke, Andrey, they really are there. I think they must be fruits of some kind.
    Happy New Year to you too though!
    Anyone got any ideas?
     
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Calidum crucis crustulum?
     
  5. Pho

    Pho Member

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    Nice one woodschmoe, but it's the wrong time of year!
    Seriously guys, these have got me puzzled. Any real thoughts?
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    The mythic figgy pudding?

    But seriously...not mineral, but animal or vegetable? Which?
    Maybe these are oceanic sponges, some residents of the deep dislodged by the force of the storm. ???
    Found this site...perhaps if you posted your photo here these folks could help.
    http://www.glaucus.org.uk/hightide.htm
     
  7. Andrey Zharkikh

    Andrey Zharkikh Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  8. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a well preserved, ready to eat muffin. Treated to make it safe to eat with formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, ethanol, and methylchloroisothiazolinone, irradiated, nonthermally plasmated and (PEF) electroporated.
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Indeed. But thousands of them?

    What are the ocean currents/tides around Sussex? Is there a commercial-size bakery on the other side of the North Atlantic whose contents were whisked away and deposited for Pho to find?

    Hmm. A clue to composition might be if Pho observed any birds, crustaceans, etc feeding on these Nerf-of-the-sea. If they are baked goods gone astray, I figure that something would be eating 'em right quick. If nothing was, well then that tells us something too. If even a crab won't touch them, then maybe Sundrop is right!

    (My daughter opines that they are Dr. Who-related. Something about an episode in which the ingestion of diet pills causes fat to leave the body as...small squishy creatures...)

    Questions for Pho:
    1. Do these objets de mer have any smell to them? I mean, distinct (ha!) from a briny one.
    2. Any chance of a photo showing the disposition of these along the beach?
    3. How long ago was this? Any mention in your local news media? I'm thinking that the sudden appearance of multitudes of strange unidentified pudding-like items would merit coverage in the Sussex News, if not TV station(s) as well. Surely someone else noticed and in this day and age I gotta think that someone posted a photo somewhere! Perhaps on the (mythic) Facebook of which Andrey speaks.
     
  10. Pho

    Pho Member

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    Hi togata57

    The wind is strong from just west of south so they could have blown up the channel from the North Atlantic, but I think it likely they are more local. I can't get out to photograph the location as the gale is still blowing, but they are randomly distributed along the strandline on as big a section of pebble beach as I have searched, about 3-5 per square metre, roughly the same distribution as the welk egg cases which have also washed up in abundance.
    They do not smell, and the birds have no interest in them. Being brown on a pebble beach they are not that obvious, but there has been no media interest that I have seen. I don't think they are man-made bakery products, they are too irregular to be commercially produced, and far too many to be the result of home baking!
    They do remind me of natural sponge in consistency, so I am inclined to think they are a type of oceanic sponge. I will try the site you mentioned and report back if I have any joy.
    Thanks everyone for the input- humorous and otherwise. A nice start to the new year.
     
  11. Pho

    Pho Member

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    They have now been positively identified as marine sponges, species still under discussion, ripped from their moorings by the gales.

    Thanks forum for your help
     

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