Giant Green Sea Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica)

Recently we visited Magic Island (out at Halibut Point Rec) during a low tide and I took advantage of the opportunity to photograph some of the more obvious tidepool denizens which, for whatever reasons, I had not really spent much time with before. Prime among these are the giant green sea anemones (Anthopleura xanthogrammica).

As I understand it, the green color comes about either directly from, or through interaction with, symbiotic algae. I’m a little curious how those algae get in there in the first place, but perhaps further reading will reveal someone has investigated that. Individuals growing in dark areas (such as sea caves) may not be green at all. Another interesting trait of these anemones is their habit of gathering rocks about them during the cold and dark time of year.

They favor outer coast with higher energy, and are pretty common at Magic Island on the outer shore. It’s nice to find them in tidepools where it is possible to see them tentacles without the distorting effect of moving water.


Posted in invertebrates, Species Profile, tidepooling | Leave a comment

Raven Radio Show #58 – Matt Bracken and Cascade Sorte

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download Radio Show

The 20 July show featured a conversation with Cascade Sorte and Matt Bracken, visiting scientists at the Sitka Sound Science Center. They study intertidal/marine ecology and have been investigating some of the potential impacts of climate change (including temperature and acidity, both of which they are looking at in a experiment they are running on a local beach while visiting the science center).

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

Posted in Radio Show | Tagged | Leave a comment

Low Tide in the Fog

This morning we went down to the science center for a brief talk followed up by beach walk. The talk focused on possible effects of climate change on intertidal life, highlighting some of the results seen during the speaker’s PhD research in California. The speaker is one of two resident fellows (SIRF) at the science center along with her husband.

Fog persisted into the morning, and as we walked down to the beach around 9am, we could only barely make out the large cruise ship anchored in the bay, and everything beyond was flat gray. Shortly thereafter, parts of the sky became brighter and the fog lifted a bit. It appeared that blue sky might reach us as the clouds dissipated, however it was not to be – they hung over town throughout the day.

Down at the beach I investigated a bit more closely the sea grasses, and noted a patch of surf grass (Phyllospadix serratulus) at the base of Sage Rock. For some reason I hadn’t previously noted that, as it presumably (in my mind) just blended in with extensive eel grass (Zostera marina) beds.

It seemed like Connor and (especially) Rowan enjoyed having some other kids down there to look around with, and I certainly had some interesting conversations about intertidal life and some of the mysteries there.

Posted in daily, marine, photojournal, tidepooling | Leave a comment

Getting Back to It

It’s taking me a while to settle back in after back to back trips at the end of June into the first week of July, but it seems like it’s time to get back into the posting habit. I have several days of back-posting to get taken care of (at this point, it’s been long enough they will probably mostly just be the photos) and of course an ever increasing set of single subject posts to get queued up.

Weather so far this July has trended toward the wet side of things with over 3 inches of rain falling over this past week, but it has been reasonably warm.

Today clouds hung around 200 feet or so for most of the day, dropping even lower as they settled in to an evening fog. The forecast for the next few days calls for partly cloudy and a little warmer, so perhaps we’ll get a chance to dry out.

Other highlights (that won’t show up in pictures) from the past few days include the opportunity to sit in on meetings of fluent Tlingit speakers with a visiting linguist.

Posted in daily | Leave a comment

Weather Visualizer

Wind and total precipatable water map for 11pm (local time) 12 July 2014.  Blue to white indicates higher levels of water, black to yellows are regions of less moisture.  Lines indicate wind

Wind and total precipatable water map for 11pm (local time) 12 July 2014. Blue to white indicates higher levels of water.

I was recently made aware of an interesting weather conditions visualizer that I’ve had some fun exploring over the past few days. You can find it at http://earth.nullschool.net/. It wasn’t obvious to me, but if you click on the “earth” at the lower left, you can play with several different settings. The photo above is a screen capture where I had displayed total precipitable water along with the 1000 hPa wind (which, if I am understanding it correctly, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 meters above the surface). A couple of prominent features stand out – the low pressure (note winds are swirling in counter clockwise) at the end of the Alaska Peninsula and a plume of greater precipitable water extending up from the lower latitudes to Southeast Alaska. This shows where the rain has been coming from over the past couple of days at least.

In any case, I’ve had fun checking out different settings and have hopes that it will help me understand the bigger picture of how our local weather connects in with broader scale happenings.

Posted in weather | Leave a comment

Raven Radio Show #57 – Bob Armstrong

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download Radio Show

The 6 July 2014 show featured a conversation with Bob Armstrong. We talked about his work with Dolly Varden as well as some of the many other aspects of natural history he has been curious about and investigated over the years.

See more of Bob’s work (including many photos) at Bob Armstrong’s – Nature Alaska

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

Posted in Radio Show | Tagged | Leave a comment