Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Poking around at FW Bay

Every year for my Peninsula College Oceanography Class I offer an optional field trip in which we head out to FW Bay during a winter low tide, and poke around for an hour or two. This year's trip happened during last night's beautiful low tide, with cold but crystal clear conditions and a bright moon. This year's trip happened just 6 days after Tuesday's storm, which featured high tides and substantial must have really rocked the intertidal. We seemed to see it - many crabs missing legs, everything coated with a layer of silt...

As with last year's trip, there were two groups of animals that really seem to dominate the FW Bay intertidal:

The porcelain crabs, and the:

the gunnels

Both occurred, often in large numbers, under nearly every rock we looked under.

As with last year, we also came across a brooding female Red Rock crab, but unlike last year this one was alive and well:

Perhaps most unlike last year, we stumbled across a nice size Sunflower Star (photo at top), and a full-size Pisaster ochraceus:

in addition to many Leptasterias hexactis (which we typically see there), and a blood star.