Thursday, June 30, 2011

Death of the Cockle

Gulls feed on just about anything they can find........that's why they frequent dumps so often.  On the beaches of Puget Sound they can be found with sea stars, worms, sea urchins, crabs, clams, mussels, fish and just about anything else they can swallow.  Cockles are sturdy shelled clams that only bury themselves a few centimeters in the sand.  Gulls can see the siphons sticking up at the surface and dig them up quickly.  Once caught it's a matter of getting the cockle open by dropping it from flight until it finally breaks and is open for consumption.  While gulls don't usually share they will sometimes if it happens to be one of their offspring begging.  In the series of images below an adult gull captures a cockle, drops it till it breaks and then shares it with a juvenile gull which may be its offspring.....sharing with the way. 

Algae-Seaweed-Sea Grass

In long past years most students of biology heard the same story over and over......Every living thing depends of the energy of sunlight.   Now  we know photosynthesis is not necessary, and impossible in the deep ocean, and that chemical energy systems from the earth itself can power life.  We still don't know what percentage of life is powered by the sun and what gets energy in other ways but here on the surface it looks like photosynthesis is doing all right.....I noticed it's doing really well with my lawn (why I still have one of those I don't know).
In Puget Sound there are some 500 or more species of seaweeds, two species of sea grasses plus an unknown but large number of algal plankton species. The images below attest to the diversity of the seaweeds and phytoplankton but just scratch the surface. For a more in depth look (only about knee deep) check out the presentation Algae and Seaweeds under Buzz Links on this page.


Green Rope

Encrusting coraline algae

Surf grass

Ribbon Kelp

Feather Boa holdfast

Parasitic sea weed on red algae

Coraline Seaweed

Bubble seaweed

Stiff Stipe seaweed

Sugar Kelp

Ulva - Sea Lettuce

Japanese Eelgrass


Fucus - Rockweed

Codium - dead man's fingers

Coraline branched seaweed

Sea Sacs

Feather Boa

Succulent seaweed

Acid Kelp

Bull Kelp and 5 Rib Kelp

Red Lace Seaweed

Young Fucus - Rockweed
Fish eggs on Sargassum

Mixed Red seaweeds