In particular, spring is especially satisfying, because all though I love the seasons, I get just as sick of winter as every other New England resident. So that first green seedling that sprouts from the ground, along with those first buds on the branches of trees, give me a sense of hope and anticipation that the cold weather is nearly over...for the next couple months at least...
From a biologist's perspective, spring is a perfect time of year to study and appreciate new life, and a sort of re-birth of species that remained dormant all winter. What a wonderful adaptation of deciduous trees and other winter-sheltering plants and animals: why battle the harsh winter like us humans, when you can simply go to sleep and skip all that cold and hassle?! If you ask me, the trees have got the right idea.
While it is less obvious at first glance, most coastal marine organisms in temperate climates know what's up and go dormant for the winter as well. To deal with the lack of light and intense cold, seaweeds practically pause their growth completely, and with their food source dormant, most herbivores and secondary consumers limit their activity as well. Go tidepooling in the winter (as I often did for my environmental monitoring research) and you'd be hard pressed to see any activity. All the snails, crabs and sea stars hunker down in the rock crevices until spring brings the light, nutrients and warmth that these organisms need to ramp up their growth again. So just like the terrestrial organisms, coastal marine species are experiencing an incredible pulse of growth, birth and re-birth right about now as well, in the form of seaweed and phytoplankton blooms, gravid crabs ready to shake tiny baby crabs from their abdomens, and nearly microscopic mussels and barnacles settling on the rocks. From rocky shores, to woodland clearings, signs of spring are all around!
As a celebration of spring, I've photo-documented spring flowers in various locations from my back yard, to the back bay! Enjoy these photos, and to go on a spring flower tour of your own, check out this websites that maps out all the flowering trees in Cambridge. Happy Spring!