Exploring Gros Morne | Newfoundland

Sep 17, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

Our day began with a Zodiac landing at the community of Woody Point, where we were greeted by locals and brought to visit the nearby discovery center. There, we learned about the amazing geology of Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The special feature of this park is the tablelands, where a piece of Earth’s mantle has been thrust upward and now appears at the surface. The tablelands are comprised of two main rock types: peridotite, a dark green rock that weathers to a rusty brown; and serpentinite, a metamorphosed version of peridotite with a distinctive scaly pattern. Very few plants grow on these nutrient-poor rocks, but one that does is the pitcher plant.

The pitcher plant is Newfoundland’s provincial flower and it is carnivorous! Insects and other small invertebrates are attracted to the pools formed in the plant’s “pitchers.” The bugs fall in and become part of a “bug stew” that provides nutrients to the plant as well as certain types of midges whose larvae form in the pitchers.

In the afternoon, we visited Norris Point, the site of the Bonne Bay Marine Centre. The center has many tanks filled with local marine species, which gave our guests a window into life beneath the surface of the sea. From lobsters and cod to coralline algae, the biodiversity found beneath the waves was amazing!

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About the Author

Michael Jackson


An experienced traveler, Michael has lived on several continents, including a year spent working as a naturalist and zoologist in Galápagos and three months in Kenya conducting a study of birds of prey. He is the author of Galápagos: A Natural History, a comprehensive guidebook which details the natural history of the plants and animals found on the islands. 

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