Thursday, July 14, 2011

Low Tide Ocean Shores, WA

1. There are few sandy beaches in Washington, but over the long weekend we went to Ocean Shores and the sand stretched as far are you could see.
2. Since it was low tide and not much life on the beach, we headed to the rocky jetty to find some creatures.  Here are a couple of chitons (believed to go back 400 million years), feasting on rock algea.
3. Hanging Sea Anemones (closed waiting for the tide to come back in)- bits of rock and shell attached, contain stinging cells (nematocysts), green due to zooxanthelae
4. Sand ripples left by the retreating tide.
5. Barnacles and Mussels
6. Luke and Easton
7. The brown blob is tar spot algae - very flat patches on rocks, common to rocks in high-tide zone ( Ralfsia pacifica)
8. Gooseneck Barnacles - clusters of white claws, compete with mussels for space, filter feeders, higher up on large rocks (Pollicipes polymerus)
9. Giant Hermit Crab with Connor

Note - While at the beach it is so important to be respectful of the creatures that live there and their habitat.  Here is a great list of guidelines from the Washington State University Beach Watchers:
  • Please leave all living organisms in their native habitat, where you find them on the beach.
  • Walk with care to avoid injuring plants and seaweed. Plants and seaweed prevent erosion, provide habitat and hiding places for intertidal organisms. They also provide food for many animals and insects.
  • Step on bare spots as much as possible, walking slowly and at a safe pace.
  • Overturn rocks with care, if doing so. When finished looking, return them gently to their original position to avoid crushing anything that lives underneath.
  • Kneel quietly by tidepools, taking care not to walk in them or put your hands into them.
  • Fill any holes you may create if digging for clams. Piles of sand left on the beach can smother other organisms.
  • Leave creatures attached to rocks, rather than removing them for study, since removal may kill them. Since it is natural for them to be attached, more can be learned about them by observing where and how they choose to live.
  • Enjoy anemones without prodding them. Anemones will often squirt water if poked, but sadly this can kill them because they need that water for survival until the next tide covers them.

1 comment:

Lorna said...

Sounds like if anyone is going to the beach they need to book you as their tour guide. Cool stuff, thanks for sharing.