Saturday, April 13, 2013

Geo 365: April 13, Day 103: PNW Palms in the Breakers

Out toward the open end of Devil's Churn, so-called "sea palms" have evolved to thrive in one of  the most violent environments on earth: the breaker zone of the PNW's rocky coasts. Below the sea palms, against the right edge of the photo, a knobby cluster of mussels blends in well against the basaltic breccia bedrock.  Toward the bottom, barnacles and encrusting algae are other organisms that can cope with this rugged, battered habitat. As hostile as it looks from our perspective, there are many factors that make this an appealing spot for critters that can handle it: highly oxygenated water, high nutrient levels from upwelling, and a relative paucity of predators. Starfish are the main carnivorous predator, sea urchins the main browser. This zone is a bit too high- too often above the tide level- for either to be able to get to the area.

Photo unmodified. September 21, 2010. FlashEarth Location.

1 comment:

Silver Fox said...

Beautiful photo of the breaking wave and palms!