Posts Tagged ‘intertidal’

Get Hit with Waves to Live on the Beach?

March 15, 2011

Too bad this algae is endangered because it's so neat, I want to see it more places!

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!

A Swaying Forest of Sea Palms

March 1, 2011

(photo: S. Jeffries)

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!

Just Looking at This Photo Makes Me Cold…

December 19, 2010

(photo: S. Jeffries)

Graduate student Sara Hutto surveys the swell before venturing out farther in the tide pools to work on research for a grant.  Sara ventures out into the intertidal at all times of night and day and in all kinds of weather to get her work done on low tides, when more of the algae she studies are exposed.

Meet Sara: Enjoying the California Sun, Playing Underneath the Palm Trees

October 20, 2010

Postelsia palmaeformis, California's other palm, better known as the Sea Palm

Brynn Hooton-Kaufman

by Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, Phycology Lab

On any given month during a good low tide, you can usually find Sara scuttling amongst the crashing waves in the intertidal zone at Soberanes Point, searching on her hands and knees for palms.  No, not palm trees, but Sea Palms, known by the scientific name of Postelsia palmaeformis.  Rain or shine, day and night, Sara crawls around the boulders on the fringes of the tide pools to find new Sea Palm babies that have sprung up in her study area.


Sara sampling a plot in the wave-swept rocky intertidal, counting up Sea Palms

Sara is studying community interactions of seaweed in the rocky intertidal, and more specifically, she’s looking at what these baby Sea Palms grow on.  In some places along the coastline of the Pacific Northwest, Sea Palms only grow on bare rock where they can get a super good grip on the rocks to avoid being ripped off by mighty waves.  But here, along our Central California coast, Sara sees a different trend.  She sees Sea Palms mostly growing on intertidal coralline algae that creates a turf.  To find out more about Sara’s thesis project, and take a look at her Student Profile.  Also check back often for Sara’s first hand account of sampling in the rocky, wave-swept intertidal.

Sara is deep into her third year at Moss Landing Marine Labs, but even before she started graduate school she had many amazing adventures.  She studied for a semester abroad in the Galapagos Islands, worked as a behavioral ecologist, and studied humpback whales.  You can read more about her exciting experiences here.  Check back often for stories from Sara, and to hear more about her rocky intertidal endeavors with Sea Palms.


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