Corallines and Chitons Layer the Lower Intertidal

In an intimate scene of layering, two crustose reds overtop one another. This is their way. Pink over purple, purple over pink. They in turn, are overtopped by hardened upright corallines, bladed reds, and chitons that blend in. In the upper left, a lined chiton, Tonicella lineata, occupies a layer between red crust and red…

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An Attractive Red Alga Meets Morning Sunshine

It takes an uncommon combination of low tide and cloudless skies for these two to meet. Here, morning sunlight illuminates and shines right though the blades of an exposed red alga. Morning

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Scribbles in the Sand

Olivella biplicata, the purple olive, ploughs a crazy quilt of trails on intertidal sands. A good low tide will reveal Olivella’s handiwork on most any exposed Pacific beach between southern Alaska and Baja California. What motivates the shape of the trails? Have a look at the purple olive, a little intertidal snail, only an inch long. Last…

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Stranded Greenling Raises Eternal Question: To Assist or Not Assist?

Last week, thanks to a good low tide, I got to explore a stand of Ahnfeltiopsis. The surf was bigger than I wished, but the grove was upon me, and my attention was on the sand-loving red algae people call forked seaweed. While I was solving seaweeds, the swash left a 75 mm prize flopping…

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The Abstract Intertidal

Swatches of marine algae on a rocky bed look like abstract art. The featured image for this post is unique because the algal patches that give it the abstract quality live on a roadbed carved into a rocky headland. The bed is exposed only at low tide. Being smooth, flat, and nearly level, it’s a…

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Starfish to Sitka Spruce

April ushers in the first (daylight) minus tides of the year. The best April tides are still a week away and I’m not alone feeling restless. While we wait, here’s the view on May 16, 2014 when low water permitted an intimate encounter with rarely exposed corallines and surfgrass, Phyllospadix. Submarine Rock, centered in the middle…

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Before and After Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: Three Comparative Photos Show Rapid Changes in the Rocky Intertidal

The most recent bout of sea star wasting syndrome has been with us on the west coast for a couple of years. It’s worth asking if we see any changes in rocky intertidal communities. Below, I show three pairs of photos from a single site in northern Oregon. The first photo in each pair is…

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Pugettia gracilis Not Much of a Challenge in the First TOS Cryptic Crab Challenge

Yesterday, Pugettia gracilis was the subject of the first Cryptic Crab Challenge on theoutershores’ facebook page. Elaine Blok submitted a correct identification 38 minutes after I posted the challenge, and got all the glory. In the Challenge, I showed two photos, the one at the top of this post, and this one. Had I shown…

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