A preponderance of plankton

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As I was leaving the floating building at 12:15 pm yesterday (1 October 2014), I noticed a golf ball-sized green blob floating past the Pearson College dock. It turned out to be this red-eye jellyfish (Polyorchis penicillatus) and right next to it was a sea gooseberry or ctenophore (Pleurobrachia bachei) and a barnacle moult.

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The bell of the jellyfish is covered in a green algae and the red eyespots are visible around the margin of the bell and there is a red amphipod living in association with the jellyfish too (see it peeking out from the margin of the jelly in the two photos below).

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And here is a better view of the comb jelly / ctenophore Pleurobrachia bachei which we rarely see around the Pearson College dock, but is periodically very common at the Race Rocks jetty.

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Simon and I also met several students at the dock last night at 8:30 pm to observe bioluminescence. It was magical! While moving our hands through the water we saw a line of bioluminescence about 6 cm long which turned out to be a cross jellyfish (Mitrocoma cellularia) which “luminesces if disturbed in the dark, especially in a band along the margin of the bell” according to Cowles (2009).

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