Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photo quiz, more intertidal mania, + new-to-me species

First, the photo quiz. How many animal species can you find and name in this photo? It's officially a photo of 2, but maybe you'll find even more. =)

So, I'm thinking. Maybe I can have Photo-quiz Phridays as a regular feature (pheature?). I may have enough of a bank of pics, be they obscure, or abstract, to try that out for a while. Thoughts? Please opinion-ify in comments.

More from the glorious days in the rocky intertidal at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego. HEA-ven.

First, the setting in the southern-most part of the rocky intertidal. It's closed to the public (so SOME part of the intertidal gets a break from people trampling and flipping rocks, etc.) but as I was there to sample, me and my scientific friends got to explore. We also knew what stuff to try and avoid stepping on. =)

View of absolute southern tip of Point Loma, gazing east, beyond the study area, and into the San Diego bay. It's GORgeous out there. LOVE this place. There's a string of large boulder pointing south, upon which we have numerous plots to work, so it's a happy obligation to trek out here.

Zoomed in a bit more. You can see the Coronado Bridge on the left of the horizon.

Looking SSE (ish) at, among other things, Mexico. My friend who sampled with me said the whole time he was there (Point Loma rocky interitdal), his cell phone was convinced he was in Mexico, and thoroughly confused. The WHOLE time.

Looking (mostly) south. There you can see, if you look closely (and enlarge) in the foreground are snowy egrets, demonstrating the birds we wanna count in the shorebird count as they are predators which shape the intertidal. Actually, by eating species which compete with each other, they moderate this competition, which allows more species to exist. Nice! In the background are terns and gulls resting, staring into the breeze, occasionally squawking. They're so chill.

Here are two friends, one new, one old, sampling (finding and measuring longest dimension of) owl limpets (Lottia gigantia) on a boulder which is one of the permanent plots.

FYI, I am obsessed with doing Lottia plots. Obsessed.

The tiny person in the foreground was volunteering because her biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene, bless him, requires his students to GO OUT and DO BIOLOGY/ECOLOGY for part of their grade. What a delight. SO helpful to let folks know what it's actually LIKE. Genius.

The gentleman in the background was my study partner my entire last year of college (undergrad) and is why I got straight As. He's much more disciplined than I, so cracked the whip, and up my GPA went. Yay!

They are both great field people. Accurate, motivated, good communicators, relaxed and fun.

So, here's a closer shot of a plot with gorgeous mussels and actual Lottia and chalk marks, which help us track what limpets we've already measured.

I think these mussel beds are particularly handsome.

If you look closely, you can see the tell tale marks where the Lottia has grazed over the mussels, keeping them clean of algae, pesky barnacles, etc. Tough to describe, but they're definitely visible (again, if click on) on the mussel with the watermark. Seeing those grazing marks makes me inordinately happy. Above that central mussel, right above the watermark, is an actual Lottia, and clearly one that's already been measured.

Beneath the mussel mass are aggregating anemone. Also festooning mussels are thatched barnacles. Scientific names for all in last post.

Glamour shot:


So beautiful.


Oh, yeah. Waking back up from gorgeous mussel-induced dream state. Resume blog!

Here's the other species I saw that weekend for the FIRST time in those tidepools, despite YEARS of exploration of same.

SO charming. Here's a zoomed in view:

It's the ringed nudibranch, San Diego dorid, common names vary, but Diaulula sandiegensis, not so much. CHARM-ing creature. SO excited to see it.

I had to tell the person who pointed it out to me that it made my day, the next day, and the day after that.

Apparently these guys eat sponges. I seem to have noticed more and more sponges in the CABR rocky intertidal in the previous 5 years than before then, but maybe it's just me. Thanks to for the clues.

I love nudibranchs. Love.

I used to think that they are among the VERY few creatures I adore enough to study to get Ph.D., but need for Ph.D. never materialized. Plus, I'd probably go more toward landscape ecology, but these little creatures are so TEMPT-ing to study. Just to see and be with them.

It's probably me. Tho', if I remember correctly, my high school biology teacher, who was WONderful, LOVED nudibranchs.

Anyhow, that's enough for now.

In summary re: comments:
1. please guess what creatures are in photo quiz
2. what do you think about having Photo Quiz Phridays?
3. do you prefer photographs centered or flush left on this blog?
4. have you gotten out for any outdoor nature adventures of late?

xo biobabbler

1 comment:

  1. 1. brittle star sp. and shrimp sp. (ghost?) and maybe olivella and whatever that turban snail is called.
    2. love it!
    3. centered...or flush
    4. shrimping and will be going out to a great cave site in about 10 days.


Cool people write inside rectangles....