Monday, June 28, 2010

Moss Animals

Wandered up and down Rialto Beach on Sunday, in rainy murky weather, looking at the seashore life in the wrack-line, arraying selected algae and invertebrates for group photographs. There were pieces of ostrich-plume hydroid everywhere, and lots of kinds of seaweed. I had forgotten the book. I thought a lot about featheriness: tubeworms in the tidepools have feathery parts; and the sea-cucumber (which is an echinoderm, not a plant) used to wave its plumy bits around sometimes for the long-gone underwater kelp forest cameras on Orca-Live. OK then, so our feathery-looking hydroid (which is in the Cnidaria, one of the two Phyla which the Coelenterates we learned about as children were divided into).

Anyway, plants and animals, and animals with plant-y names—

and for that matter the roadside plants with menagerie names which are at the height of their flowering right now, cow-parsnip and foxglove and goatsbeard and skunk-cabbage everywhere and I thought of taking portraits of those too but never quite stopped the car to do it—

There was a lot of seaweed, and those hydroids, and something else that also looked like algae but also turned out to be a colonial animal, branch-spined bryozoans. The Bryozoa are their own phylum, and are commonly known as moss animals. I thought I had a picture of some, but I must have moved the camera. There's a scrap of some branch-spined bryozoa in the upper right corner of this picture (click for larger image):

I suspected the white stuff at the top of the frame of being slimy. Something was slimy, every time I went picking through the wrack and laying out bits of life, my fingers got all icky and it didn't much work to try to wipe them off on my raingear.

The purple bumpy plant on the left is turkish towel :-) It's a source of carageenan. (Click for larger image.)
Rockweed and feather-boa kelp (Click for larger image.)

The weather got brighter and brighter for a while. It was almost sunny. I shed several layers and went back to the car for walk-in-the-water shoes.

Walked in the water. Four pelicans passed by.

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