A Windy Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 20-25 knots West in the morning, picking up to 30-35 by noon.
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 3′ chop

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Ecological

  • I oversaw an enthusiastic day long census with Maya, Tazi, and Ali.
  • Discovered a new Black Oystercatcher nest with 3 eggs!
  • Maya and Tazi discovered a new Canada Goose nest.
  • I begin to suspect that our new elephant seal male is actually Chuckles.
  • If he did nothing but eat for 3 months straight, that would explain his girth.
  • Saw a Steller Sea Lion branded 9628.
  • We found a blood star, and Maya showed us various chitons.
  • Maya and Tazi did a transect.
  1. Harbour Seals: 190
  2. California Sea Lions: 42
  3. Steller/Northern Sea Lions: 39
  4. Elephant Seals: 15 (13 on Great Race, 2 in the Southern waters)
  5. Seagulls: 225 (Glaucous-winged)
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 82
  7. Canada Geese: 36 (14 on Great Race, 22 flyovers)
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 8 (plus 2 nests with a total 5 eggs)
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 3 (2 male, 1 female)
  10. Cormorants: 3
  11. Barn Swallows: 2

Maintenance

  • We cleaned the solar panels.
  • Finished cleaning the boathouse floor with T.S.P.
  • Repainted some rusty propane tanks.
  • Sanded the westward facing bench by the Students’ house.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by in the morning, but as wind picked up they disappeared.

Pteraster tesselatus: Slime star –The Race Rocks Taxonomy

A useful defense mechanism is evident in the slime stars. They will fill a bucket full of slime when picked up, this can be toxic to other invertebrates.

Slime star photograph by Ryan Murphy

Slime star photograph by Ryan Murphy,2010

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Subphylum: Eleutherozoa
Class: Asteroidea
Order: Velatida
Family: Pterasteridae
Genus: Pteraster
Species: P. tesselatus

rmjellystar

Slime star and nudibranch–photo by Ryan Murphy

Other Members of the Phylum Echinodermata at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams.  2014 Garry Fletcher

 

Strongylocentrotus franciscanus :Giant red urchin–Race Rocks taxonomy

 

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Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and Pearson College diver at Race Rocks photo by Ryan Murphy

From the underwater albums of Ryan Murphy- photographed when he was an Ecoguardian at Race Rocks.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjmurphy/sets/72157622196559991

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Sea urchin juvenile between spines of adult. Photo by Ryan Murphy

seaurchin-close

A sea urchin “starburst”

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Giant red urchin Strongylocentrotus fransciscanus and Green urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis

Usually, they eat red or brown algae (see in the photograph they have eaten pieces of the kelp Nereocystis), periwinkles, and occasionally barnacles or mussels.

sea-urchin-video

See this video which has all three species of Sea urchin found at Race Rocks.

Distribution; rocky areas though at exposed and protected coastal waters. 

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This Giant Red Urchin contrasts with the Metridium beds at Race Rocks

Habitat: Rocky substrates, especially ledges and crevices located near bull kelp beds and other brown algae in area of moderate to swift currents. Larvae drift and feed in plankton, juveniles settle near kelp bed, often associate with aggregation of adults, remain under adult spines until they reach 40mm.

Behavior: The red sea urchin is found in deeper water than the purple sea urchin. It is seen from the low intertidal area to as deep as 90 meters. The urchins move their feet by a hydraulic system which creates suction in the end of the food by pulling water out the madroporite. These tube feet may also be used to sense of smell the chemicals in their surroundings like others urchins, the red sea urchin can regrow its spines if they are broken. On full size urchins, these spines sometimes shelter small juveniles.

seaurchgraze

Grazing marks on the stypes of Nereocystis sp.

Reproduction: The spawning of red sea urchin peaks between, June and September in southern BC. The fertilized eggs develop into planktonic larvae before settling on the bottom where they change into tiny juvenile sea urchins. This replenishment of the population, appears to occur annually in local waters. New recruits must hide from potential predators and many seek shelter under the spines of adult . Adulthood is at approx. 3cm diameter and legal size of 10cm is reached in five to ten years. Life span sometimes exceeds 30 years.

People eat the gonads (sexual organs, called “UNI”) of this urchin. It is especially a delicacy in Japan and others parts of Asia. Sunflower stars, some fish, birds, and sea otters also prey on them.

This pdf is on the DFO Integrated Fisheries management Plan for the Red urchin:

DFO-red_urchin_2011-12 “The purpose of this Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) is to identify the main objectives and requirements for the Red Sea Urchin fishery in the Pacific Region, as well as the management measures that will be used to achieve these objectives. This document also serves to communicate the basic information on the fishery and its management to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) staff, legislated co-management boards and other stakeholders. This IFMP provides a common understanding of the basic “rules” for the sustainable management of the fisheries resource.”

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Echinoidea
Order: Echinoida
Family: Strongylocentrotidae
Genus: Strongylocentrotus
Species: S. franciscanus
Other Members of the Phylum Echinodermata at Race Rocks.

taxonomyiconReturn to the Race Rocks Taxonomy
and Image File
pearsonlogo2_f2The Race Rocks taxonomy is a collaborative venture originally started with the Biology and Environmental Systems students of Lester Pearson College UWC. It now also has contributions added by Faculty, Staff, Volunteers and Observers on the remote control webcams. Original arrangement was by  Ainhoa Orensanz PC Year 28, Feb 2002