I don't see this algae very often, but encountered a couple of nice patches recently.
Meet Derbesia marina, sometimes referred to as Green Sea Grape.
So cool! This is a female Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus) spawning.
We had to work a little late tonight, but it paid off because just before we were getting ready to leave, Eric noticed that a few sea stars were spawning in one of the tanks at the lab!
It's possible they were triggered by the recent change in the weather. When the NW winds are strong, seawater temperatures are usually cool; then when the winds calm down, seawater temperatures often rise. Yesterday the seawater temperature was 9°C (48°F), but it increased to 13°C (55°F) today.
Here's an even closer view where you can see a large number of eggs being released through pores in the surface of the sea star:
Last week we encountered a few juvenile rockfish at different sites along the Sonoma Coast. Here are a couple of examples. Both fish were ~2 inches (~5 cm) long. I'm not sure which species of rockfish these are, so any comments/suggestions are welcome.
I think we've seen 10 species of sea cucumber in the Sonoma/Marin county area, and over the years I've posted photos of 8 of those, but I haven't shown pictures of a couple of species yet.
So here are two more — above is the Orange Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria miniata). As you can see, they often live under rocks or in crevices, but sometimes you can catch a glimpse of their bright orange tentacles.
Below is a California Sea Cucumber (Apostichopus californicus, formerly Parastichopus californicus). This species is more common in subtidal areas, but with the very low tides last week, I spotted one in the low intertidal zone: