Author Topic: Fish Tales  (Read 93978 times)

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Offline paintnut

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #105 on: November 01, 2016, 11:08:55 AM »
Thank you Wren - absolutely fascinating.  Can't wait to read more....

Offline Cawatcher

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #106 on: November 01, 2016, 11:27:24 AM »
Excellent narration and information, Wren.. and all thos birds must be great food out there  :eceek

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #107 on: November 01, 2016, 03:06:30 PM »
A curious thing was happening at Cape Lazo, and to a lesser degree at the previous site near Kingfisher: by late May, wild kelp had started growing on the unseeded part of the rope. It took me a while to wrap my brain around how this could happen and what it meant, but after Bill patiently explained a few times here is what stuck: the ‘recruited kelp’ got there because there are still small rafts of healthy kelp, ripped from their holdfasts by storms and other disturbances, floating around the area and dropping their sori. Or else it is the smaller gametes that were cast adrift somehow and landed on the ropes. The particular sections of rope where the wild kelp grew were floating fairly close to the surface: joining a plantation to its marker buoy in the case of the Kingfisher site, and accidentally adrift from moorings of a previous planting site at Cape Lazo. Proximity to the surface kept the kelp away from the voracious urchins that graze everything they can reach, and also gave it more favourable lighting conditions. It is standard practice to have the growing ropes raised a few feet off the bottom, but starting off the growing process even closer to the surface and sinking the ropes later might be a more viable way to go at these sites, and I understand we might try this next year.

Young kelp on a line, May 2, photo R. Zielinski. You can see the seed string wound around the grow rope on the bottom right of the photo.


A data sensor (upper left) from an additional monitoring station near Little River. A squid has attached its translucent egg case among the lead weights that held the rope to the bottom. March 29.


Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #108 on: November 01, 2016, 03:07:27 PM »
The Kingfisher kelp did not live long enough to produce sori, but the Cape Lazo planting fared better, especially the wild kelp that grew on the salvaged rope. We found that rope attached to a float that had partly filled with water, and when we towed it to our plantation I got a glimpse of the hidden world below the surface: the float was covered in sea life, layers and layers of creatures growing on top of each other, fiercely competing for space. Most fascinating were the caprellids, or skeleton shrimp, mythic-looking little creatures that clung like velcro to everything they touched, including the dive suits.

Here’s that old float, almost invisible for all the creatures populating it: seaweeds, caprellids, tiny barnacles, a circular colony of bryozoans below the centre of the photo. Cape Lazo, May 25.


Here’s a better view of some caprellids or skeleton shrimp. The one on the left is head down. The large ones were about 3 cm tall. Cape Lazo, March 29.


Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #109 on: November 01, 2016, 03:22:00 PM »

On May 25, the day the divers retrieved that floating line and attached it to the Lazo Shoal plantation, we also collected samples of kelp blades for DNA analysis. This was part of related research by Dr. Felipe Alberto of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee on the population genetics of bull kelp from California to Alaska. While the divers were underwater, I processed the small pieces of kelp blades that we had cut out with scissors, wiping off the caprellids and bryozoans and packing the little brown squares in baggies of blue dessicant beads.

The very high-tech DNA collection tool: Bill cuts out samples from kelp blades. The kelp sporophytes are still only a fraction of their mature size. Cape Lazo, May 25.


A few kelp samples, wiped dry and packed in dessicant. The dessicant beads turn pink when they absorbs moisture. Cape Lazo, May 25.


Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #110 on: November 01, 2016, 03:44:40 PM »
Wren, thank you for this series.  I enjoy learning about Marine Biology and watch two different live remote cams that show scientists exploring the deep ocean during the Spring and Summer seasons.

"Hi-tech" equipment, indeed...scissors!      :nod2
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Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #111 on: November 01, 2016, 03:54:38 PM »
Three more sites remain on the list, the inside and outside of Maude Reef, and a monitoring station across Lambert Channel at Eagle Rock. We usually checked these sites, so close to home, on a separate day.
The monitoring station is just an anchored buoy with a vertical line that holds sensors. At each visit, after Rob cleaned the sensors and collected the data, we did a sampling of the water column with the sonde. We also scouted the edge of the reef all the way to Chrome Island, looking for remnants of what was once a thriving underwater forest, and found not a blade. Rob mused that this project also has been about watching the slow demise of the area’s last great kelp bed, from ailing to thinned out, and now to nothing. The project’s organizers had chosen this site as reference because it grew the last kelp bed in our area, but now that is gone.

After this, the planting inside Maude Reef was such a comfort to see: finally the neat rows of kelp, aligned with the planting ropes, that one would have hoped to find at all the sites.
Rob examines the kelp, inner Maude Reef, July 3.






This one’s from Rob’s point of view, looking at the line of kelp to the dive boat. Ford Cove’s dock is in the background. Inner Maude Reef, July 3. Photo R.Zielinski.


The outer reef plantation did just as well, but with the lines deeper in the water I could not see the seaweed rows from the surface. From the water, they were lovely to see.

Outer Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.


As they should, these plantations sheltered a whole range of sea life…

Two Hooded Nudibranchs among the kelp blades, Inner Maude reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.


Juvenile herring? Inner Maude reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.


A Painted Anemone and a Blackeye Goby under the shelter of the kelp forest, inner Maude Reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.


To be continued!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #112 on: November 01, 2016, 08:39:56 PM »
As the season advances, the kelp starts to decay, a process speeded up by the growth of other organisms on its surface. Here, circular colonies of bryozoans or ‘moss animals’ are joined by some green algae.
Inner Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.


The edges of the blades start decomposing… The kelp crabs help shred them out too.
Inner Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.


It’s a race between that decaying process and the production of sori. Some of the smaller plants don’t stand a chance.

Half-eaten kelp, Outer Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #113 on: November 01, 2016, 09:15:41 PM »
End of the season

In September, Bill went out on sorus-collecting expeditions at the usual sites. Then in October we wrapped up the season, hauling aboard the grow lines and any equipment that will not be in use next year.

As the lines came aboard after nine months underwater, I delighted in seeing creatures coming out of the deep…

Culture rope with nudibranch egg mass on a blade of red seaweed, Cape Lazo, October 10. There are also some worms and the ever-present caprellids, a nice large one hanging upside-down at the top of the photo.


Another section of culture rope with a compound tunicate, another colonial animal, that is engulfing what look like some stringy kind of hydroids maybe? Plus at least three other kinds of seaweeds. Cape Lazo, October 10.



A decorator crab hitched a ride up on the grow lines too… I took a portrait before sending it back to the water. Cape Lazo, October 10.



This is what a kelp holdfast looks like. Seaweeds don’t have true roots, just various ways to attach to whatever they’re growing on. Rising up to the left is the leathery remnant of the stem, or stipe. From Maude Reef, October 11.


Another compound tunicate, a fascinating colonial animal, engulfing a grow line; this one is an invasive species. Click the picture to enlarge; each white dot, or maybe pair of dots, represents one animal. From Maude Reef, October 11.


Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #114 on: November 01, 2016, 09:56:22 PM »
We will not be reusing the Kingfisher site next year, so not only the lines but also the anchors had to come aboard.
Rob and Bill lifted them from the bottom using salvage air bags. Those heavy-duty bags were attached to each anchor, then filled with air from spare dive tanks on board. As soon as each anchor surfaced, I pulled it in, right next to the boat, and tied it off before the air leaked out from the bags. Then we used a hand-cranked winch and elbow grease to lift the anchors aboard.


Rob surfaces with an air bag, to which an anchor is attached. The red line is just an ordinary air hose, except that it’s 100 feet long. Kingfisher, October 10.



One anchor attached to the winch and ready to come aboard, another still hanging below the surface from the inflated air bag. The anchors are just cement cylinders with metal loops. Kingfisher, October 10.



Our fancy hand-crank winch.



At the outer Maude Reef site, one line was still growing kelp so we left it there. The other lines, plus the four from the inner reef site, we pulled aboard too.

The outer dock at Ford Cove was the perfect platform to clean the ropes and unwind the grow string that had held the kelp ‘seed’. The sea birds and weather will finish the cleanup, then next winter we will wind fresh grow string around the ropes and the cycle will start again. Rob and Bill are planning for an earlier start next season, always trying to find ways for the kelp to gain a foothold before its multitude of competitors and predators does. A lot of work will happen off the boat in the meantime: data will get analyzed and shared with other groups, and slowly we will gain more knowledge on what makes the lovely kelp forests grow and thrive.

Grow ropes on the dock, Ford Cove, October 11.



Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #115 on: November 01, 2016, 09:59:15 PM »
It's beautiful below the surface of the sea.   :nod2

Please keep your reports and the pictures coming!
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Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #116 on: November 01, 2016, 10:10:58 PM »
Thank you, Tigerlady!
While researching this article I found a beautiful video clip about the kelp forests and the role our disappeared Sea Otters used to have in their maintenance - a role they still fulfill closer to where you live, consuming urchins and making room for the kelp to keep growing.
Click the video at the top of the page: Dr. Jane Watson, UBC Adjunct Professor and VIU Professor speaks on the kelp forest’s importance and its ecosystem.

The Nile Creek enhancement society is one of our funders, and it is our kelp project that is mentioned on this page.

Offline amazedbyeagles

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #117 on: November 02, 2016, 09:06:52 AM »
This is a fascinating story, Wren!  How wonderful you have this opportunity to learn about kelp and the complex ecosystem it anchors!  And how wonderful of you to share your experience with us!!!  Thank You!! :eclove

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #118 on: November 02, 2016, 04:02:32 PM »
Thank you for the link, Wren.  I've saved it to look at the video and information.   :eclove
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Offline Faerie Gardener

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #119 on: November 03, 2016, 08:31:16 AM »
Very nice story and pictures Wren! I'll share with my Daughter in Law who teaches Biology in HS, because I think it's an eye catcher!
"In all things of Nature there is something of the Marvelous"  -Aristotle

"A garden is never as good as it will be next year" -Anon