Monday, October 5, 2009
Kelp on the Beach
On Friday, Sarah and I packed our laptops and took our work to the beach. Around noon, we took a break and walked the stretch of beach in front of Pacific City.
We quickly noticed that stormy seas had washed piles of kelp onto the beach.
Bull kelp individuals grow from the size of a spore to dozens-of-feet-long in less than a year. Eventually, the waves carry the kelp ashore, where countless tiny beach creatures feed on the decaying masses. Larger creatures, such as Sanderlings and other shorebirds, feed on the invertebrate kelp-eaters during migration and winter.
Bull kelps are anchored to rocks on the seashore by their rubbery holdfasts. Many interesting anchor rocks, and other organisms attached to them were tugged onto the beach.
This rock had anchored at least 8 individual bull kelps.
Their stipes had coiled into a think, heavy rope.
We also found this interesting species of brown kelp, Egregia menziesii.
Up close, it resembles several brown leather belts decorated with fringes.
With our beach needs satisfied, we returned to the house to continue our work.