Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

An Array of Sudden, Wild Beach Finds on N. Oregon Coast: the 'Ocean Burp'

Published 04/22/2018 at 5:26 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

An Array of Sudden, Wild Beach Finds on N. Oregon Coast: the 'Ocean Burp'

(Seaside, Oregon) – Nature does some truly wacky things. No where is that more true than the Oregon coast, where the ocean coughs up – or burps up – some incredible finds. One group in Seaside discovered just that this weekend: a massive debris field of wild, weird and fun stuff from the deep called an “ocean burp.” (All photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium. Above: an Alaska Hermit Crab).

It’s what Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe called a “beachcomber’s dream.”

“These small debris fields are usually composed of small bark chips, shells, large tubeworm casings, hermit crabs, algae, kelp, and sometimes even skate egg casings,” she said. “They usually occur because of a local upwelling.”

What’s an upwelling? In a fairly real way it is the ocean burping. It’s an oceanographic phenomenon where the wind drives colder, more nutrient-rich water to the surface of Oregon coast waters, replacing the warmer water that’s at the top, which is largely depleted of nutrients.


“This juggling of water from the bottom of the ocean to the surface often lifts debris sitting on the seafloor into the water column,” Boothe said. "As the tide comes in, the debris is cast onto shore. At the Seaside Aquarium, we fondly refer to these events as ‘Ocean Burps.’ "

What they found on this north Oregon coast beach is quite a kick in the pants.

First, notice how all the birds are exploring the debris field. The juvenile gulls spend a lot of time wading through the waves to pick at stuff. Boothe said they’re looking for food, and mostly they scarf down on dead or molted crabs.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials even in summer
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Check each listing for specials
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some Deals even in summer; great packages
In Lincoln City:
Major price drops on some dates and some lodgings
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Specials can still be found
In Newport:
Includes exclusive listings not found anywhere
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials; lodgings not listed anywhere else

Then there are all the squid eggs.

“A super fun and unusual find were squid eggs,” Boothe said. “Each female squid will lay about 12 of these capsules. Each capsule contains 180 to 350 eggs inside.”

Boothe provides some closeups of the squid eggs, where you can see the insides of the capsules. They were still viable so Boothe brought them back to the aquarium, where they will incubate for the next few weeks and eventually hatch.

Skates lay egg casings look and feel much like kelp, Boothe said. They each have between four and seven embryos inside.

“Because squid eggs have no smell or taste they were not being eaten by the birds,” Boothe said. “In fact, one of the only critters known to consume squid eggs are bat stars.”

Squid eggs were only the beginning.

“Besides the masses of squid eggs, we discovered a huge amount of live cockle clams, hermit crabs, red rock crabs, live snails and many different species of snail shells,” Boothe said.

That included a few Lewis moon snails, big and black skate egg casings (the casings had already hatched out), large tube worm casings, and a tire.

“Don't worry, we brought the tire off the beach when we left,” Boothe said.

Also found were lots of live snails. The most abundant snail was the giant western nassa (Nassarus fossatus).

The cockles (above) were especially striking, each with their own unique shell colors and patterns. Boothe said you should still be able to find some of these for awhile on Seaside’s beach.

“The hermit crabs that we find in 'burps' are not the hermit crabs you'll find in the intertidal areas,” Boothe said. “They are species that live deeper. This particular hermit is called an Alaskan Hermit (Pagurus ochotensis - pictured at top). Easily identified by their large yellow eyes, these hermit can get quite large and prefer the shells of Lewis moon snails.”

Then there’s the orange hairy hermit crab. They stick to the softer portions of the sea floor with heavy silt, and they prefer to inhabit empty Oregon Triton shells. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

Oregon Coast Lodging

More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Looking Back: March '64 Tsunami That Wrecked Oregon Coast, Photos
On March 27, 1964, it was anything but a good Friday when the infamous Good Friday quake hit Alaska
Chillin' in Retrospect: Oregon Coast in the Snow
When snow does hit the Oregon coast it's always a grand entrance
From March 25: No Tsunami Threat for Oregon, Washington Coast, Hawaii
An updated special statement about an earthquake offshore from Russia, saying there is no threat. South coast
View Oregon Coast Whale Watch Week Online: Updated Daily (Orca Footage)
Luckily, you can still watch them as you 'shelter at home' and perhaps keep your sanity a little longer
When a Mysterious Shipwreck Popped Up Out of Nowhere: Oregon Coast History
Ten years ago, a 100-year-old surprise popped up on the north Oregon coast, essentially forgotten by time
Oregon Coast, Washington Slowly Close Down Beaches, Towns: Latest Shutdowns
State parks around Oregon are shut down, some towns have closed themselves to tourists, with many beach accesses now closed off. South coast, warnings
Be at the Oregon Coast from Afar - Living It Vicariously
There are indeed ways to check out these lovely beaches from afar - digitally. Washington coast, south coast, sciences
The Little Critter That Looks Like a Spaceship on Oregon / Washington Coast
It's called the longnose skate: a dark, sleek and thin creature. Sciences, South Coast

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details