The Moss Landing Global Kelp Systems class was fortunate enough to dive in a kelp farm designed to grow Giant Kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera on lines. The kelp farm had large kelp crabs which aggregated because the kelp is their preferred food, similar to insects eating on our crop fields on land. The cute baby kelp is shown below growing on lines, hopefully they will not be eaten and make it to adulthood. It was an interesting experience seeing an underwater farm, its easier to farm in the water with kelp as the nitrogen fertilizer is naturally in the water!
Posts Tagged ‘Moss Landing Marine Laboratories’
by Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
Classes at Moss Landing Marine Labs involve a lot of field trips, and this semester is no exception. On November 7, 2011 the marine ecology students ventured seaward to explore the ocean benthos.
The students waited with anticipation, saying goodbye to the familiar Moss Landing Harbor as the 135-foot Point Sur pulled slowly out into the open ocean.
During the MS 141 Geologic Oceanography field trip on monday October the 10th, I learned something new about a place I have been visiting for years. Panther Beach is about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz and a diverse, dynamic beach to visit. With a huge sandstone arch and places to boulder and rock climb it has much to offer and changes with the seasons as the sand is removed during winter and deposited back during summer. Little did I know, but a rock outcrop I had walked by for years was composed of mud and many, many diatoms, tiny algae phytoplankton which are made of silica and leave behind their skeleton when they pass away. If you were to lick a fresh portion of this rock it seems like the rock is sticky, this is because of the many tubes of the diatom skeletons creating suction on your tongue!!! The study of rocks definitely rocks!
The MS 141 Geological Oceanography class traveled to the Marin headlands to visit many rocky outcrops. The folded rock near rodeo beach San Francisco was most impressive. This rock was around 300 million years old. Composed of layer upon layer of radiolarian skeletons, tiny creatures with mineral bodies that get left behind, the outcrop has layers that span millions of years that have since been down-lifted, compressed and uplifted. This is some rock that rocks!
Year old Steelhead (smolts) were seen during Moss Landing’s Scientific Diving class, in August, at Big Creek Reserve. These fish are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater and then spend most of their lives at sea before returning to the freshwater to breed. They get to experience both fresh and saltwater worlds!
Checking in with Mr./Mrs. Eel, it appears the eel has been eating some delicious crab. This broken up crab carapace sits in front of the eel den, with some bat stars getting whatever is left over from the meal. The crab carapace is made of chitin, similar to keratin which makes up our nails and hair!
It appears to be a good year for rockfish as the young of the year (called YOYs) are swimming around. These fishes have survived the hardest part of their lives having been floating around as icthyo(fishy)-plankton and then recruiting to the kelp forest, however have much more to go. Some species are seen in the kelp canopy, you can barley make them out in the second photo.
Without a doubt this eel is always present. I think I can rely on this more than most things in my life. They will choose a den and will only move if displaced by a larger eel or octopus. Wolf eels, Anarrhichthys ocellatus, eat hard-shelled invertebrates and fishes. Be careful, my shelled friends, these jaws can get cracking!
Stillwater Cove is one of the best studied kelp beds in the world. Moss Landing Marine Lab’s very own Mike Fox is studying giant kelp growth in Stillwater. The R/V John Martin took a group out to tag giant kelp in order to more easily locate them when they go reproductive. Large blades called sporophylls cover the holdfast and make it difficult to see the tags, so we attached white lines to a nearby winged kelp algae.
To continue the baja-palooza currently being celebrated on the blog, here are some Cortez Angelfish who were swimming together in southern Bahia Concepcion, Baja. This site was particularly interesting because of a hydrothermal vent bubbling up carbon dioxide through the sediment. It did not seem to affect the fish community as there were many others such as a scorpion fish and Pacific Porgys. It was a little strange to feel like you are diving inside a giant soda bottle.