On the Rocks: Now and Then

It’s the setting, height, and shape that make the rock below an intertidal superstar. This surf zone heavy-hitter sits in an intertidal sweet spot where accessibility and rarely exposed lower reaches find the optimal balance. It’s a leviathan tall enough to support all the intertidal zones, and its steep broad faces impart visibility to the…

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Tidepool Treat: The SchizymeniaKatharina Connection

The low tides of late summer brought me a tidepool treat. I’d read about a connection between a red seaweed called slimy leaf, Schizymenia pacifica, and the Katy chiton, Katharina tunicata, but hadn’t seen it myself. I had seen Katy chitons decked out with various seaweed and animal hitchhikers, but I did not recall slimy leaf among them. By…

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Communication or No?

A strip of open space between adjacent colonies of pink-tipped green anemones, Anthopleura elegantissima. Communication or no? Communication

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Bringing You Along

Just memories now, of a beach walk, August 19, 2020 6:17 am: Accepting an intertidal invitation. 7:02 am: Touching base with an old friend, a study in zonation. 7:58 am: A pause to take in morning sunlight on exposed surfgrass. 8:19 am: A fortunate turn of my gaze, just in time to discover sunbeams penetrating…

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Off to the Shore for a Symmetry Beach Party

Welcome to my small celebration of symmetry. This beach party’s a renewal of kinship with animals we share symmetry with and a reminder that symmetry varies in ways worth appreciating. An in-depth survey of symmetry would expose developmental and evolutionary mysteries better left to zoology and comparative anatomy courses. Instead, let’s head to the shore,…

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Accentuating a Flatfish and a Limpet with Negative Space

This little flatfish, one of those pesky pleuronectids, the righteye flounders, was just a babe, washed up as so much sea wrack when I noticed its perky eyeballs protruding from the smooth, featureless surface of a sea of swash zone sand. The experts I consulted believe it’s a juvenile starry flounder, or maybe a curlfin…

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Missed Opportunities with Littorina sitkana and Gloiopeltis furcata

I’ve surprised myself twice recently by unexpectedly noticing species I’ve never seen in the wild in my photographs featuring other species. The periwinkle below, the little striped snail, escaped my attention while I engaged in a four-photograph sequence featuring the limpets. The little snail is Littorina sitkana, the Sitka periwinkle. Who knew a snail could…

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Quiet Moments From the High Intertidal

Among invertebrate inhabitants of the high intertidal, activity, for some, grinds to a halt when things dry out. Clamped down against a vertical wall with shells for protection, waiting out low tide won’t challenge these limpets and barnacles. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve settled on the shady side. A periwinkle made it just so far…

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Dodecaceria, Cropped

This mound is home to a colony of marine worms, Dodecaceria, probably D. fewkesi. Here, the worms have retreated, it being low tide, into their calcareous tubes. Their tubes are embedded in a matrix of cemented sand particles. When the tide returns, they’ll poke their tentacled heads out to feed. A version of the photograph…

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Revisiting a Landmark

Below, is the first photograph I took of what is now one of my favorite northern Oregon landmarks. I say landmark, as far as I know, it’s not a landmark for anyone but me. It isn’t a single rock, it’s a pair. Allies rising up together on the lowest reach. Accounting for tides and surf…

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