Smith Island Sampling

Originally posted at Beach Happenings at Diamond Point, Sequim.
Smith Island is the small island beyond Protection Island off Whidbey. Smith and Minor Island are connected by a beach at low tide. Like Protection, Smith now has a marine reserve status protecting the DNR owned sub-tidelands. On Friday a group of seaweed scientists all went out to Smith Island to make a permanent collection of who and what are living there.
This was our third attempt to go, and the weather was finally kind to us!

Dr. David Duggins took us out on the R/V Centennial from Friday Harbor Labs. Dr. Tom Mumford set up a video camera to record the seaweeds living on the
bottom. Next we towed a dredge behind the boat while divers carefully collected seaweeds that were more fragile. This photo shows the basket full of seaweed being lifted into the sorting table. Once the seaweeds are on the table, everyone gathers around, sorts the algae and calls off species names. Voucher specimens for pressing and microscope identification are collected into buckets and returned to the labs.

Dr. Bob Waaland is shown in this photo sorting through the many foliose reds like Cryptopleura. One thing that is immediately notable from dredge samples is that the algae on the bottom is mainly red! The way the light penetrates down to through the water and attenuates away red and yellow wavelengths favors pigments that can capture energy in the blue and green spectrum. - Megan Black


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