Category: Extreme Tidepooling


Teachers, friends and team builders… Blue Water Ventures offers Extreme Tidepooling along the Central California Coast. The most interesting find yesterday was a pseudoconch, an internal structure of a sea butterfly, Corolla spectabillis. As the name implies this gelatinous pelagic snail can swim rapidly through water to escape predators. Know your tides and never turn your back on the big blue. Come explore, discover and learn with http://www.bluewaterventures.org

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Its been a week of EXTREME fun and exploration with my Clemson graduate school friends, a 33 year reunion! At daybreak, we headed to Davenport Landing for extreme tidepooling. From kayaking among the giants (humpback whales) to intertidal discoveries its been an amazing week!
We found only one healthy ochre sea star (Pisaster orchraceus) spared from the fatal sea star wasting syndrome. Thought to be a virus effecting sea stars from Alaska to Baja, SSWS has researchers along our coast working hard for more answers.

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For more information on sea star wasting syndrome go to: http://news.ucsc.edu/2014/11/sea-star-virus.html.
Join http://www.bluewaterventures.org on a naturalist-led adventure from California to Baja and beyond!

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http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Imagine a jellied filled sac, a simple life form that saw the Dinosaurs come and go, flourishing on earth for over 300 million years. You have no brain nor heart or even a proper anus. You have just consumed the soft juicy tissues of a California mussel, dislodged from the grasps of its stringy cementing agent by a powerful wave. The calcareous mussel shell pops out of your mouth that serves as both the beginning and end of your digestive tract.

Sea anemones, though a mere bundle of jelly, are formidable predators. They are armored with 1000’s of stinging cells known as nematocyst that capture their prey. The aggregating anemone pictured here can produce sexually through the dispersal of egg and sperm or asexually by cloning. Essentially, they pull themselves apart creating a genetic clone over and over again until they blanket their rocky condo. Specialized warrior polyps on the edges of the colony inflate with powerful nematocyst cells that will attack neighboring colonies. In some cases a neutral zone between colonies will be established where each colony is spared the lethal reach of the other.

 

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The Creature Featured today is the Monterey Stalked Tunicate (Styela montereyensis).  Also known as sea squirts,  the tunicates are  more linked to humans than those octopus with clever thoughts,  crabs with their fancy  jointed appendages or  sea hares with their  joy of sex (mass orgies).   In fact, they belong to a group of  animals known as the Urochordates, a subphylum of  phylum  Chordata, animals with backbones.  In their larval form tunicates have  a primitive spinal cord, stomach and heart .  As  free swimming youngsters,  they sport  an appearance resembling  a  tiny  tadpole or human embryo.  As adults, Styela montereyensis claim a sedentary life attached to a surge channel or the  ocean floor filtering plankton through their dual siphons.  Check out http://www.bluewaterventures.org for our next naturalist-led adventure.DSCF36282

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Here’s an unusual find, the internal shell structure of a sea butterfly, Corolla spectabilis. As the name implies this pelagic gelatinous snail can swim rapidly through the water as it escapes its predators. To feed, it oozes a muscus snare to capture its planktonic prey. We found this while exploring Greyhound Rock. Winter offers excellent tides that may reveal unusual sea creatures.
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To learn more about this interesting species found in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary check out: http://jellieszone.com/corolla.htm

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

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While surf fishing today, we were distracted by the tide pools. Leptaasterias hexactis, known also as the Six Rayed or Brooding Sea Star only reaches a size of slightly more than 3 inches. This particular star pictured has lost a leg to an intertidal predator. While many sea stars reproduce by broadcasting their egg and sperm into the water column, these little stars are attentive mothers. Females will stand guard over a mass of yellow eggs and then guard her young stars until they are foraging on their own.Tasty mollusks such as the Lined Chiton are considered a delicacy by these tiny echinoderms. The brooding process may take several months all while the female is fasting.

Learn more on our next extreme tidepooling adventure for families on October 19th, 2013  at http://www.bluewaterventures.org

www.bluewaterventures.org
Join Blue Water Ventures as we explore the incredible  diversity of California’s rocky intertidal.  Wetsuits are recommended to “go extreme” in comfort as we scramble along the rocky nooks, crannies and caves of our coastal waters.

 
This is a great outing for groups or schools  looking for an adventurous and  informative day with a naturalist guide. You will learn about  the amazing adaptations of our intertidal inhabitants such as the feeding habits  of sea stars and the mating strategy of barnacles.
 
Contact Kim Powell, Owner at: bluewaterventures@sbcglobal.net  or  give us a call at ( 831) 459 8548 or explore our website further  at: http://www.bluewaterventures.org
 
And remember….Adventures are for Life!

www.bluewaterventures.org
Join the naturalist of Blue Water Ventures as we explore and discuss the tidepools of California’s Central Coast. Discover how tides work, how beaches form and about the survival strategies of intertidal inhabitants. Activities may include collecting data from designated study sites, line transects and a beach discovery walk. As professional educators, we know how to design educational and fun activities to the appropriate age level.