Tiny bristle worms have created a small reef at the beach closest to my house. What appear to be rocks in the water are actually sand tube mounds that can only be seen in the couple of hours surrounding low tide. On this day, having misread the tide table, I arrived when the reef was barely visible. The scene wasn't very dramatic but I worked it hard in the camera and on the computer for what I hope is a pleasing result!
Hurricane Matthew chewed hard on our beaches as it passed last week and very rough high tides continue to threaten the fragile dune. This wasn't much of a morning for photography but I challenged myself to find a picture despite the wind, the rain, and the unfortunate condition of the beach.
What appear to be rocks along Florida's east coast are actually living reefs built up over time by tiny marine bristle worms of the family Sabellariidae. The Sabellariid worms build protective tubes out of sand, ultimately forming large colonies that grow into mounding reefs. The reefs sometimes are exposed at low tide, creating tide pools and providing a habitat for a variety of other marine organisms. Please don't tread on the worms!