Join us as Dr. James T. Carlton, Professor of Marine Sciences Emeritus, Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) and Director Emeritus, The Ocean & Coastal Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut tells the fascinating story of a marine species found to this day in Lake Merritt.
First discovered in Lake Merritt 100 years ago, the brackish-water tubeworm Ficopomatus enigmaticus (known before the 1980s to Lake naturalists as Mercierella enigmatica) has a long and fascinating global history. What exactly is it, what does it eat, and how does it reproduce? Where did it come from and how did it get to San Francisco Bay? Why did a French scientist give it the name enigmaticus? And why did the tubeworm remain only in San Francisco Bay until the 1990s, after which it began to appear elsewhere in California? Today the Lake Merritt tubeworm is also found in Europe, the North American Atlantic coast, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, and elsewhere. We’ll explore some of the scientific techniques that have been used to explore out where its (probable) original home port was.