Recent N. Oregon Coast Odd Science: Glowing Sand, Octopus Eyes, BBC Crew
(Seaside, Oregon) – You can always count on Seaside Aquarium to make the fun and fascinating science discoveries in their area of the Oregon coast. September has been a busy and interesting month at the longtime attraction, not the least of which is showing off its new baby seals. (Above: photo of new baby seal Shireen courtesy Seaside Aquarium).
September started off with a rather remarkable find by the Seaside Aquarium's Beach Discovery Program. On September 1, they made another plankton tow (essentially catching gobs of plankton) in the waters there and found plenty of the little creatures that cause glowing sand at night.
“Today's plankton tow was full of a bioluminescence producing dinoflagellate called Noctilunca, commonly known as the sea sparkle,” the aquarium said that day. “If you are having problems seeing the sparkle just drag your feet through the wet sand and blue/green sparkles will appear.”
Right now will not be a good time to find them, as the rain squalls hitting the Oregon coast will essentially wash them away and/or kill them. But after the storms have passed and sunny conditions return to the beaches, you may have a better chance of seeing this striking sight after dark. Tips for spotting glowing sand.
The aquarium also saw a film crew from the BBC making a visit to the facility this month. BBC Films and a show called Nature's Weirdest Events showed up to film the famed tsunami fish there – the striped Beakfish that hopped a ride on a bit of tsunami debris from Japan in 2011. The fish called Tsu ended up inside a small boat that was part of the debris field which then came ashore in Washington this spring.
That story caught the attention of Nadege Laici, a researcher at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, England. Nadege, along with two other crew members, filmed Tsu and interviewed general manager Keith Chandler. The show airs only in the U.K. on BBC 2, unfortunately.
Then, if you're looking to check out some freaky, alien-looking babies, you're in luck. The Seaside Aquarium's Octopus Rubescens laid eggs in July and they are still on display. The aquarium said you can see them develop. (Above: little octopus eyes in the eggs at Seaside Aquarium, photo Tiffany Boothe of the aquarium).
“It will still be a few weeks before they hatch,” the aquarium reported on its Facebook page this month. “Mom guards the eggs, aerating them constantly.”
As of last week you could see the orange dots inside of the eggs - which are the eyes of the developing embryos.
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