Beach Hoppers Rejoice Over Drift Macrophytes

A foggy morning with low visibility and muted colors and sounds. Under these conditions you’ll find more action down at your feet than off in the distance. On this morning the air was still and warm. Sunrise added little more than glare and from the foredune the atmosphere was as oppressive as the view was…

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An Ordinary Beachcast Kelp

A wave-tossed frond of feather boa kelp, Egregia menziesii, washed ashore by the first big fall surf. Fall and winter storms are sure to send pulses of drifting kelp onto exposed beaches. It’s an annual cycle so routine we barely notice it; but to beach hoppers the seasonal deposition of drift kelp means everything.

Beach hoppers make a living on beach beach cast kelp. Their shows, little holes, outline the edges of this feather boa kelp
Beach hoppers make a living on beachcast algae. Their shows, little holes, outline the edges of this feather boa kelp stipe

Here’s another example; this time the treasure is bull kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana.

There's a beach hopper party under and along this bull kelp stipe
There’s a beach hopper party under and along the seaward edge of this bull kelp stipe

Click pale beach hopper, Megalorchestia columbiana, to see some photos and and learn a little more about the hopper responsible for most of the sand work seen in the photos above.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

The Pale Beach Hopper, Megalorchestia columbiana

It’s fall and outer coast beach hoppers rejoice. Algal drift washes ashore and hoppers are abundant and active in the drift line. There is a lot of hopper activity on, around, and under all the wave-deposited treasures. You can see abundant shows around this sea lettuce, and even more under the edges. Beach hoppers aren’t…

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Bull Kelp Drift: A Subtidal-to-Surf Zone Connection

What do you call a tangled mass of bull kelp on the beach? I’m not sure what you call a great spaghetti-like tangle of floats, stipes, and holdfasts, but after a long summer, masses and clumps of kelp wash onto the beach with the first big surf of the fall season. This clump was 112…

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River of Sand

October 14 brought the first fall storm to the outer shores. The marine forecast, which called for south winds 25 – 30 KT with gusts to 35 KT, was accurate, and this mixed flock of western and California gulls was hunkered down and hesitant to fly as I approached. I had hoped to be patrolling the wrack…

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