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Monday, May 9, 2016

Purple pools and purple waves

Eric and I did some early morning field work today.  When we first got there, we noticed a purplish hue at the high tide line.  When we got closer to the tidepools we saw this:

The pools were filled with doliolids!

Here's a close-up showing how dense they were:

And another shot, with some of the doliolids floating at the surface.  You can see their barrel-shape, with prominent muscle bands:

I don't recall seeing abundances and concentrations of doliolids in the intertidal zone like this before.  For the record, here are a few more examples:

Draped over Feather Boa Kelp (Egregia menziesii)

Undigestible portions being spit out by Aggregating Anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima) the large pinkish blobs emerging from the anemones' mouths:

There were so many doliolids, they were painting the waves purple!

I introduced doliolids last year, so to learn more about them, read the post from 15 June 2015.

P.S.  I heard that doliolids were also seen at Doran Beach today.  If you come across them, let me know it would be fun to know where else they're showing up.


Anonymous said...

Wow. That is amazing. Fabulous pictures Jackie!


Dan Gurney said...

Fascinating. Never seen these before. I went to your 6/15/15 post to learn more.

I'll try to get out to Jenner this afternoon and have a look.

Thanks for the heads up.


beachmama said...

Hi Jackie, Last week I photographed the purple, foamy waves and the purple shore break at Doran beach. This week the purple 'goo' is so thick on the shore that it makes for very slippery walking conditions. The smell is fairly pungent too. I observed millions of tiny Vellela along the entire stretch of Doran so thought the purple sea was due to the Vellela and the smell was the creatures decomposing. Interesting that the two events occurred at the same time. I've never seen Vellela so tiny and in such startlingly high numbers.

Thanks so much for solving this mystery!

Ellie said...

Awesome Jackie! I'm so glad to know what they are. Last Friday I saw the purple sheen on the beach and in the surf between Salmon Creek Village and the Dunes Campground boardwalk.

John W. Wall said...

Amazing how many things you find that I've never heard of before! Your micrographs are excellent and remind me of Liittschwager's book, One Cubic Foot. I just love that there are creatures out there like these doliolids.

GSS said...

Hi Jackie
This is Phoebe Johanna's daughter. My grandpa Geoff showed me your blog and I thought it was very interesting and also we are learning about all of this in science class like the scientific name and eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. I loved reading this article about the purple tied pools! This is so cool that you found this and I was wondering if you always find your organisms in the same area?
Thanks for the cool info.
Phoebe Ross

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Phoebe!

Great to hear from you!

I guess I'd have to say no, we don't always find the organisms in the exact same area. However, there are a few places that we like to visit a lot -- sometimes they're just nice places to go for a walk, sometimes they're places that are close to work or to our house, and other times they're places where interesting organisms tend to appear.

We feel very lucky because many of the places in this area have lots of fascinating plants and animals to look at. It's nice to have your favorite spots that you get to know really well and to learn about how they change over time -- and it's also nice to explore and go on new adventures and learn about new places and new things!

Thanks so much for writing!