6 comments on “Driftwood 8

  1. What I find strange is that there are hardly any marine organisms on these pieces of wood. Do they stay in water only shortly? Or do the organisms settle on the bark and then the bark peels off? But then they should resettle. Or do pieces with too many barnacles etc. become too heavy and sink, so we only see the “survivors” among the “wood population”? (I remember seeing pieces of fossile driftwood with colonies of sea lilies on them in museums in Holzmaden (where they where found) and Stuttgart. These had obviously sunken to the ground from the weight of the animals sitting on them.

    • Most of the larger pieces of real driftwood (cf submerged forest remains) are whole tree trunks that have been washed ashore by storm surges to positions high on the shore where they have remained for many years, slowly disintegrating as they are exposed to the elements. Any marine organisms that may have originally been attached to them have fallen off, along with the bark, a long time ago. Driftwood that has washed ashore more recently, frequently still has the bark attached – but, whether or not it has bark, the wood can be covered in sessile (acorn) barnacles or stalked barnacles. I do have photographs of driftwood and other flotsam with encrusting organisms elsewhere in my blogs but just not in this particular series of pictures.

      I don’t think that wood or other objects become so heavily encrusted that they can no longer float. I once photographed an immensely heavy plastic fish crate completely filled and covered by a dense layer of long stalked barnacles that had washed up at high tide. It was difficult for two people to drag back to the water’s edge but it had floated in easily enough and then floated out on the next tide.

      I wonder if maybe your idea of the wood (later fossilised and in the museum) sinking under the weight of the sea lilies may be open to another explanation. Sea lilies are sedentary animals which only affix to substrates on the sea bed. They are not pelagic like some of the common and stalked barnacles that encrust driftwood and flotsam. It could be that the sea lilies attached themselves to waterlogged wood that had sunk to the bottom of the sea.

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