Marine biologist Dr Mike Kent has joined the team at Tubestation to help develop a new project Promoting Intertidal Sciences, Conservation and Educational Studies (PISCES) in a Christian environment. As part of the project, he will be writing weekly reflections inspired by our natural environment, especially the wonderful marine and coastal wildlife in and around Polzeath.
Mike says, “I am encouraged to embark on this writing project by the following two passages in the Bible:
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
the birds of the air, and they will tell you,
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among these does not know that
the hand of the Lord has done this?
In His hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being .
Job 12: 7–10
“As PISCES is the name of our project, it seems only right that my first reflection should be inspired by an encounter with one of the most common fish to be found on our rocky shores, a blenny.
“This particular character was photographed during a low tide at night residing in a rock crevice below Tristram car park. It’s a truly remarkable animal, wonderfully adapted to life on our wave-swept shore. With scales deeply embedded in the skin so that wave-damage is minimised, this fish is unusually smooth to the touch. And, even more remarkable, it is a fish that can breathe out of water. Providing its body surface is kept moist, it can survive exposed to the air for more than 24 hours. This is made possible by an extensive system of blood vessels on the underside of the pectoral fins and in the mouth cavity which, like blood vessels in our lungs, allow respiratory gases to be exchanged.
“I returned several times at night to search the shore below Trispen, and always found the blenny at home in its crevice. I often gazed at it and thought how wonderfully it is made.
“Behavioural studies reveal that blennies have remarkably good eyesight, enabling them to see colours and patterns so that they can distinguish friend from foe. On one particular moonlit night, as I peered into the eyes of my fishy friend, I was convinced that it was looking back at me. I wondered what it thought about the strange creature that woke it up in the middle of the night.”