In the southern California bight, the channel islands archipeligo sits in warm subtropical waters brought north along the coast from Mexico to the islands. Toward the east, Santa Catalina Island supports many different fishes living in these warm waters. On a recent thesis sampling trip, frenzied fish behavior was observed. Similar to people gathering at a popular eatery, small orange cigar shaped fish called Senorita, and speckled kelp bass, schooled near disturbances created by divers. You may see the small grayish crab in the photo just underneath the fish’s mouth (see below). These fish would say that algae mats provide a home for many tasty invertebrates!
Posts Tagged ‘seaweed’
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!
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.
During Open House, you can come on down to the Phycology Lab (from phykos, meaning seaweed) and check out different red, green and brown algae. Learn about agar and carrageenan, which are polysaccarides or carbohydrates that come from algae. They are in shampoo, diet shakes, soy milk, toothpaste and even ice cream! We will most likely have some ice cream for people to see the carrageenan in the ingredients and do a taste test!
By Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, Phycology Lab
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months diving, tidepooling, and digging through rotting wrack on the beach in search of seaweeds. Sometimes I get skunked, driven out by the swell, weather, and even tsunamis. Sometimes I spend hours searching around, just to find that the seaweed I want isn’t even in season, and is nowhere to be found.
But we all know it’s the victories that count. When I march back up to the car, spoils of battle in hand, laden with the seaweeds to be used in the following week’s class, I’m pretty pleased with myself. And unfailingly, I run into someone on the way. ”What did you catch?” they usually ask.
“Seaweed!” I proudly announce, waiting for what will hopefully be an enthusiastic response. But usually, the responses fall a little flat. Often they come in a variety of “hmm, that’s interesting” or some sort of feigned interest. I can’t say I really blame them. Seaweed isn’t quite a trophy fish that you would pose with in a picture (although most phycologists have), and most people don’t have much experience with it.
I didn’t have much experience with seaweed either before I started graduate school at MLML. To be honest, I really didn’t know what phycology was at all, even though I was joining the Phycology Lab. Kelp forest ecology was my main interest, and more specifically I wanted to study how organisms use kelp as habitat. If that was going to make me a phycologist, that was fine by me. (more…)
One of the best parts of Moss Landing Marine Labs is getting out into the field after learning in the classroom, and applying your knowledge outside. We ask questions like, Why does this particular organism occur where it does? You begin to notice that a particular type of algae loves waves or that banana slugs eat dead plant material like redwood bark. Taking walks around the local state parks, such as Henry Cowell, can be an eye opening experience everyone can do. Just be careful where you step, the UC Santa Cruz mascot is right at your toes!
On a recent Moss Landing Marine Lab field trip, the Biology of Seaweeds class went exploring north of the bay for different types of marine algae. The algae pictured here is a really tough one compared to the others. The Sea Palm, Postelsia palmaeformis, lives in the harsh crash zone of the intertidal. It loves intense wave motion and lives on hard red algae. Due to over-harvesting the little palm is now protected and illegal to collect. It looks like a nice view but I don’t think I could take the punishment of having this kind of beach-front property!
This lush crop of sea palms, or Postelsia palmaeformis, has colonized the wave-swept edge of the rocky intertidal. MLML student Sara Hutto is studying these algae for her thesis – learn more about her adventures dodging waves in the surf zone!
It’s a few steps up from pressing flowers in the pages of your phone books, but the concept is the same. Phycology student Sara Hutto shows an algal press from the MLML herbarium (that’s plant collection) to teachers from the Teacher Enhancement Program. Drying seaweeds is an easy, compact way to store the plants for later study – and it also produces great decorations for cards.