Archive for June, 2013

More megalopae and nifty nereids

June 12, 2013

Nereis in distance

After a question from Johan about ‘weird, somewhat disgusting, sea snake/fish slithering around the surface’ at night and from Max (Dock worker extraordinaire!) about ‘long skinny creatures’ ranging in size from 6″ to 1′, I thought I better go investigate…

Max also sent the photo above and the two below:

Nereis Max1 Nereis Max2

These creatures are what I learned as Nereis brandti but are now called Alitta brandti.  Learn more about these giant pileworms from:

Alitta brandti at Encyclopedia of Life

Nereis (Neanthes) brandti at Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

Alitta brandti at World Polychaete Database


On Sunday 2 June we hung a light off the Pearson College dock which attracted many, many megalopae (Dungeness crab, Metacarcinus magister).  Periodically a worm would also be attracted to the light.

Nereis & megalopae

I did pester a few of the worms and they released big clouds of sperm.  The reproductive strategy is called epitoky where the posterior end of the polychaete worm is transformed into a bag of gametes (either sperm or eggs). The epitokes swarm at the surface and then explode to release the gametes. Crazy but cool!

Updates from year 38 marine scientists

June 6, 2013

Good news from Laas about the leader of the iron enrichment project off Haida Gwaii last year: Haida terminate ocean fertilization proponent Russ George

A very exciting website for an NGO, one of the very, very few, which attempts to conserve the coral reefs in the Red Sea from Mohamed.

And a fun video from Jon dating back to our sea lion necropsy:


Dead harbour seal at Witty’s Beach

June 5, 2013

Harbour seal Wittys

Simon and I went to check out a dead harbour seal at Witty’s Beach this afternoon after Julie Bowser told us about it.

Harbour seal head

The large body was relatively intact – apart from the blood gurgling out of the eye socket while we were there and a small lesion in the skin of the left front flipper, I could see no external damage.

Harbour seal head2

Harbour seal & digger

Of course, Simon was more interested in digging in the sand!

Where are they now? – Maxwell Kaplan

June 5, 2013


Photo credit: T. Aran Mooney, WHOI

Again, this is a bit of a cheat since Max Kaplan (PC 33, Ontario) was not in Marine Science, but he was in Biology and Diving and he is and has done a great deal of marine science since leaving Pearson College – so I’m going to claim him!

Max recently completed an undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of St. Andrews and  has just published a paper from his work with T. Aran Mooney in the summer of 2011 at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where he is currently a graduate student.

The paper was published in PLOS ONE on 31 May 2013 and summarizes the effect of elevated levels of CO2 (to simulate the subsequent effects of ocean acidification) on the development of Atlantic longfin squid – mantle length and time to hatching were both affected but the biggest effect was seen on the (aragonite) statoliths. More details from the link to the paper below:

Adverse Effects of Ocean Acidification on Early Development of Squid (Doryteuthis pealeii)

and from


In the photo above by his supervisor at WHOI, Max is in the US Virgin Islands installing a digital acoustic recorder on a coral reef. Good luck with your graduate studies Max and please keep us posted!