Calling Up Connections

It’s been a good year for barnacles and bay mussels. Billows of goose barnacles, Pollicipes polymerus, proliferated freely. Mussels, Mytilus, a delicacy for predators, settled abundantly out of the plankton. Adult acorn barnacles, Balanus glandula, grew so fast they crowded each other off the rocks creating open space for recruits.

To maintain balance in the face of these intimate tide pool struggles, it’s worth recalling Steinbeck.

All things are one thing and one thing is all things… It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.

Steinbeck, The Log From the Sea of Cortez.

Barnacles and mussels couldn’t survive without their planktonic connections. They are born in the plankton and gorge on sun-dependent phytoplankton. Barnacles, mussels, and humans are all links in this eternal chain. In the gallery below, I feature Pollicipes polymerusMytilus, and Balanus glandula again, looking, this time, from the tide pool to the stars.


Steinbeck, J. 1951 (The Viking Press Edition, 1962). The Log From the Sea of Cortez. The Viking Press.

Look Up

I updated this post on August 16, 2022


    1. Thanks! JellyBiologist was one of the first blogs I followed. I still remember a series of posts you made in 2013 on west coast jellies. I learned a ton from those. Best to you on your post doc.

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