This blog will be following my San Francisco Expedition with National Geographic and the Smithsonian
Institute. It will also follow my own work on my senior research project for LSSU.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 4: Pillar Point

It is amazing how abundant the life is in the reef. The amount of diversity is just staggering. Take a few steps away from a spot and the entire habitat changes. The creatures we were seeing were just amazing. Nudibranchs, Cnidaria, Mollusca, Crustaceans, and a multitude of plant life were everywhere. The whole area was teeming with life. We couldn't take a step in any direction without potentially stepping on some creature. The mollusks were kind of funny. When you touched them they would spit at you just like a water gun.

Today was more of a cursory examination to discover good habitat sites for the cube. For the purposes of the study we want locations that have life that is representative of type of habitat present. Certain organisms will live near each other, but don't interact much with each other. In some places you can see a nearly straight line of habitat division. The anemones, however, seemed to be pretty abundant no matter the location (except for the sea grass fields).

The sea urchins, which we found further out on the point, had burrowed into the rock and created their own safe haven sunken into the rock face. There were a few organisms that as we went further out became more abundant. I saw at least half a dozen different species of starfish a football field away from the shoreline. Tomorrow, we will be doing a much more thorough inspection of the area for organisms. I am really excited to see what organisms we find.

Here is some more photos from today:

This Giant Green Anemone was just above the low tide level. We found a lot more that had closed as a protection mechanism from predators.

I found this tiny pond with a few different species of anemones.

A nice Ochre Sea Star

Some more Ocrhe Sea Stars

The team out scouring the reef for organisms

Anemone channel

Some anemones and sea urchins

An Ochre Sea Star and some anemones under the water

Sunflower Sea Star

Sea Urchins

One of the best sites of the day. There was so much diversity in this single pool.

A Leather Star

Another type of starfish

Gooseneck Barnacles

A rock crab

This may be a new Nudibranch discovered in the area

Pink Barnacle

Tide coming into a cove out in the reef

A Sea Urchin forest

A clump of sea palms

A Panorama of the group out looking for organisms
The view from the back of the house. A perfect day.

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