I spent day 8 of our trip with Andreia Salvador, curator of marine molluscs, looking at some of the stunning creatures she has found here in Scilly.
A curator’s job is to ‘future proof’ their collection; in the future, a specimen may be researched using techniques we don’t yet know of and Andreia is keen to perfect preservation methods that allow for as much of a mollusc to be accessible as possible. The molluscs known as gastropods, (things like top shells and winkles) have a trap door called an operculum which completely seals the animal inside.
In the past, researchers who needed the soft parts of molluscs may have had to break the shell open, destroying the specimen. Andreia is keen to work out the best way to preserve both the shell and the soft parts intact. The process of encouraging the animal out of its shell is called relaxing. This may take anything up to 12 hours to do, but it is crucial in providing future researchers with the specimens they may need.
We have found some exceptionally beautiful molluscs over the past few days. When I was out with James, we found these spotted cowries and blue-rayed limpets.
The limpets in particular, were exciting for Andreia because, in her native Portugal, they are know as beijinho, a ‘little kiss’. We found them inside the kelp forests and they have absolutely stunning, electric colors. Although not rare, they provided quite a challenge to locate, as they lived in the 'hold fasts' at the base of the kelp.
Andreia was delighted when we returned with the good news that we had got some. I felt a little left out but, as the bigger man, kept my feelings to myself ...
Last night we had a BBQ - organised by Jon and Tony, it was to make the most of the nice weather that has now turned for the worse. It was a very serious affair...
... Tony put on his ‘BBQ hat’ and began to refer to himself, in the 3rd person, as the grillmaster.
The grillmaster in the world's biggest barbecue pit - how long ‘til it’s ready?
He expertly worked his way through various meats and veggie options and as the sun set behind us we enjoyed a lovely evening all together.
Relaxing on the Woolpack