Calling Up Connections

It’s been a good year for barnacles and bay mussels. Billows of goose barnacles, Pollicipes polymerus, proliferated freely. Blue mussels, Mytilus trossulus, 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 these intimate tide pool struggles it’s worth recalling Steinbeck’s lines from The Log From the Sea of Cortez.

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.

Barnacles and blue 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 polymerus, Mytilus trossulus, and Balanus glandula again, this time looking 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.

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