Thursday, January 16, 2014

Today's melodrama: California Sea Hare OR Official Selection for the RRRFF

On my holiday walkabout this year, I happened to end up back at Crystal Cove in Southern California on a reasonable low tide. After availing myself of the local fare (date shake!), we ran some in situ experiments in the natural experimental tanks (tide pools).  

It turns out that local grapsid crabs (Figure 1) do like to eat smashed up mussels, and sea stars (Figure 2) do frighten snails. I'm still a kid messing around with earthworms, really. I think all ecologists are.
Figure 1. Pachygrapsus crassipes. Denizen of the CA tidepool and
comparable in size to a chicken nugget.

Figure 2. Terror of west Coast tidepools (Pisaster ochraceus).
Are you noticing a theme here, yet?

Southern California coasts are pretty different from the PNW, and more diverse, so it's always fun to see new things. The tide was low enough we also saw a handful of sea hares! Sea hares are nudibranchs, which I'm used to thinking of as being quite small. I wasn't fooled into thinking they were red algae, but these were so big (6-8" long) that there was a very brief moment when I thought I was looking at a sea cucumber. 

So, like any good wannabe documentarian, I took shaky video with my phone. Today, because I evidently felt like I had done enough work, I strung together the few clips that didn't have my fingers in them. Feel free to witness the resulting oeuvre, which the critics are calling: best, a clumsy demonstration of the flattening powers of Imovie!  ... wobbly, I tossed my cookies!...
...more overblown gangrene than my telenovelas...  

and featuring my first efforts at "editing" sound. Sir David better look out for his job!