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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/471

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A MARINE BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY.

Of all our excursions during the season, those of most popular interest were to the cays which were out in the Caribbean Sea, two to ten miles from our laboratory. They may be described as small islets jutting above the waves a few feet. Some were covered with mangrove bushes, others were of bare rock and sand, over which large waves would break. By overturning stones in the shallow water we found many interesting animals. Brittle stars and sea baskets often shared their homes with spiny annalids and coiling synaptas. Darting about among the rocks were little rock crabs, young lobsters, and small shrimps. Beautiful sea anemones and turbellarian worms were numerous upon the rocks. Wading out a few steps into the deeper water we came to rich coral formations; and looking through a water glass we could see as through an open window into these beautiful gardens under the sea. There were massive brain corals (Meandrina) growing in scattered groups, with other interesting species between; clusters of star corals (Astræa) and branching stag-horns (Oculina) covered large areas. In the clear, open spaces were exquisite sea fans and sea feathers (Alcyonaria) waving their graceful forms to and fro with the tide. The scene was made even more charming when schools of beautifully colored coral fish, goldfish, and mullet swam in and out among the corals and into the open sea. A poet has seen these quiet parlors of the fishes and thus described them:

"There with a light and easy motion
The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep sea,
And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean
Are bending like corn on the upland lea,
And life in rare and beautiful forms
Is sporting amid those bowers of stone;
Where the purple mullet and goldfish rove,
Where the waters murmur tranquilly,
Through the bending twigs of the coral grove."

Any report of the Johns Hopkins Marine Laboratory in Jamaica would be incomplete without mention of the kind hospitality shown us by the citizens. Our party was cordially received wherever it went; and at the laboratory we were honored by calls from chief officials residing in Spanish Town, Kingston, and Port Royal. As a body of American students, we had the pleasure of taking lunch at "The King's House" with Lady Blake, the governor's wife. It was very gratifying to find the prominent citizens of Jamaica enthusiastic in their encouragement of biological research on the island.

As to the results of the summer's work in the tropics, little can be said at present that is final, since much of it is not yet completed. A good quantity of valuable material was pre-