Sunday, November 09, 2014

In a bag full of holdfasts

In winter, along the high tide line in Boundary Bay, most of the washed up plants are eelgrass, torn out of their beds halfway down the beach. Occasionally, there's a scrap of Turkish towel and a blade or two of sea lettuce. Not much else.

But the recent windy weather has been working on the kelp forests in the deep water at the centre of the bay, and on Friday, the eelgrass rolls were tied around stipes and blades of several varieties of kelp.

Floating bull kelp bladder, with attached fronds. All very scratched and beaten, from rolling up the beach.

Torn blades of sugar-wrack kelp.

I collected a few blades of a smaller kelp, and all the holdfasts I could find. There were no bull kelp holdfasts; the weather is still too mild to damage them. All the holdfasts were of the smaller varieties of kelp, and attached to shells and stones. I planned to put a few of these in the tank for my critters to play on; the rest would be interesting to examine to see what was living there.

Small holdfast, on clam shell. Probably a sugar wrack kelp; the stipes are only a few inches long. (Bull kelp stipes may be over 100 feet long.)

At home, I put my haul in a big bowl of sea water, and watched to see what showed up. Plenty of worms and amphipods, of course, but there was much more.

Here's one of the smaller residents:

Pale pink baby starfish!

More tiny treasures tomorrow.


  1. the little starfish is totally enchanting. Will it get on in your tank???

  2. I don't know. It's from deeper water, so it might be fussy about temperature variations, etc. But it certainly was doomed tossed up on the beach, so it has at least a better shot at life in my tank.


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