Monday, December 28, 2015

On Saratoga Beach, 2010

Laurie and I explored Saratoga Beach in the summer of 2010. This week, it was bare and empty. Back then, it was teeming with life.

I hadn't taken many photos of the beach critters, being more taken that day with the shapes of old stumps. But I found a couple, for comparison.

8 or more crabs, 2 (at least) hermit crabs, several limpets, a tribe of periwinkles, assorted clamshells, and barnacles, all coated with green algae. In a couple of hand-breadths of the gravelly spit.

Helmet crab carapace.

Looking south towards the spit in 2010. The previous two photos are from this area.

Over on Facebook, Fred Schueler was suggesting possible causes for the disappearance of all that life:

It could be from abrasion after really severe storms, maybe combined with winterkill - we were on Haida Gwaii for two winterkills-1985 and 1988 - and the first was mostly big rock-clinging invertebrates and the latter mostly fish and crabs - in 1985 folks were eating Octopus, and in 1988 Dungeness Crabs - the big slow-growing invertebrates just hadn't had time to recover in 3 growing seasons.
...or maybe rather than abrasion the spit had been buried in sand for a couple of years?

Or it could be just a feature of that tiny area of the beach. Or everything has dug in deep because of the weather. Or a slight change in the average temperature; climate change, in other words.

More investigation is needed.

2 comments:

  1. I don't go to the beach much to watch for changes, but at the cabin it's easy to see little things that come and go. This year I noticed something green with lots of "fingers" growing on the steel cable at the back of the cabin. I've never seen anything like it before. After a search of photos on Google I think it's a freshwater sponge. I still need to get it posted to see if others have a better idea. - Margy

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  2. Worrysome .... I hope the answer is a natural cyclical occurrence.

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