I went to the beach this past weekend. Walking on the beach is one of my favorite things to do; I can walk for hours on the beach. The wind, fresh salt air, sand under my toes, and the sound of the surf energize me like nothing else.
But my fascination with the beach goes beyond the senses; it’s the science of the ocean and marine environment, and the nature of its existence, which also draws me there. Take for instance this Sand Dollar I photographed. It caught my eye because while all the other sand dollars on the beach were bleach white, this one had color. Was it still alive?
No, sand dollars are not white when they are alive, but quite colorful. In fact, sand dollars are actually a species of sea urchin and are also related to starfish and sea cucumbers. What we find on the beach are the skeletons, which may have some color but are quickly bleached white by the sun. When they die, they no longer cling to the sea bottom and are eventually washed ashore, where we find and often collect them as a small gift from the sea. =efh=