Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Night Time Shoreline

Last night I coordinated an optional field trip for my Peninsula College Introduction to Oceanography class. We met down at the boat ramp on Freshwater Bay, and "tide-pooled" our way along the western edge of the bay. The experience reminded me, again, that I should do this far more often. The night time low tides of winter are so much better than the day-time low tides of summer - organisms are out in the open, doing their thing, without having to worry about dessication. In particular I was startled by how many fish and soft-bodied invertebrates we saw. Hopefully some photos and student accounts will follow here...

We didn't focus so much on ID last night as simply trying to grasp distribution and diversity, but a good simple reference for the Salish Sea is the Beachwatchers program online guide book. My students asked for a list of species that we observed though, and while this list isn't complete and is based off of my own sometimes shaky ID skills (and is therefore not necessarily accurate in some cases - let me know if you see errors) it includes:

Fish "Tidepool" sculpins (Oligocottus sp.) at least a few Gunnel species (Pholis sp.) at least one other gunnel (Apodicthys sp.) Northern Clingfish (Gobiesox maeandricus)

Echinoderms Brooding Star (Leptasterias hexactis) Sunflower Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) Rainbow Star (Orthasterias koehieri) Ochre Star (Pisaster ochraceus) Green Urchin (Stronglyocentrotus droebachiensis; this is a probable ID as it was a juvenile)

Crustaceans Kelp Crab (Pugettia producta) Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus; including females with eggs) Pygmy Rock Crab (Cancer oregonensis) Acorn barnacle (Balanus glandula) Thatched barnacle (Semibalanus cariosus) Rockweed Isopod (Idotea wosnesenskii) Helmet Crab (Telmessus cheiragonus) Hermit crabs (Pagarus sp.) Porcelain crab (Petrolisthes eriomerus) Shore crab (Hemigraspus sp.) A decorator crab species (perhaps Scyra sp.?) Broken back shrimp (Heptacarpus sp.) Other shrimp species (unknown)

Molluscs Black Leather Chiton (Katharina tunicata) Mossy chiton (Mopalia sp.) Mask Limpet (Tectura scutum) Clown Nudibranch (Triopha catlinea) Keyhole limpet (Diadora aspera; the number of keyhole limpets at this site was astounding to me) Mussels (Mytulis sp.) At least two whelks, probably Dogwinkle (Nucella sp.) and perhaps the Dire whelk (Lirabucciumum dirum)

Annelids Calcareous tube worms (Family Serpulidae) Sphaghetti worms (big ones! Order Terebellidae)

1 comment:

Fred Schueler said...

nice to see all those west-coastal names - both the ones that are the same, and those that have changed since 1985.