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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Field of bubbles

This afternoon I was looking into a tidepool and was intrigued by all of the bubbles attached to the surfgrass (Phyllospadix sp.).  I decided to try to get a picture from an underwater perspective.  Here's the first shot:

That was pretty fun, so I decided to try another from a little further away to show the extent of this "field of bubbles."  [I was kneeling next to the tidepool, holding an underwater camera below the surface, so I couldn't quite see what was in the frame.]

Wow!  It worked pretty well...and there was a bonus!  A nice Surfgrass Limpet (Lottia paleacea) was in the center of the photo near the top.  This limpet is remarkably well adapted for life on a surfgrass blade.  [For an introduction to the limpet, see the post from 7 June 2012.]

I kept taking pictures from different positions, and I ended up with one more image of the surfgrass blades, the bubbles, and the limpet:

I'll definitely keep trying to capture this beautiful underwater scene in other surfgrass meadows!


Anonymous said...

What do you think explains the bubbles

Jackie Sones said...

Well, I'm not totally sure about the origin of the bubbles. I've been wondering about a few possibilities: (1) oxygen released by the surfgrass during photosynthesis; (2) oxygen released by seaweeds during photosynthesis that ends up on the surfgrass; (3) wave turbulence in the tidepool during the outgoing tide, leaving behind bubbles in the pool and on the surfgrass.

Maybe some botanist friends will be able to help?

:) Jackie