Recently we learned that there has been a disease spreading through both east and west coasts called Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. This disease, the cause of which is unknown, particularly affects the common sea star Pisaster ochraceus and causes lesions which ultimately spread and consume the animal leaving it as a rather disgusting pile of goo. So I thought I would head out at low tide to look for any infected sea stars. I’ve made several such trips over the last few weeks and have yet to identify any infected organisms, although some here at Sea Ranch have claimed to see some. In any event I’ll keep surveying various points along Sea Ranch’s coastline to see if I can document any infected sea stars.
During my last trip the tide was very low (-0.2 ft) and I was able to get out fairly far into the intertidal zone at Tide Pool Beach. While I didn’t find any obviously infected sea stars I did manage to photograph some interesting subjects. In the first image I found this very common Giant Green Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) just below the surface and fully open. The light was perfect and I had my ring flash on my 24-70 mm lens and got this nice shot of the anemone in all its beauty. The second image is quite a contrast to the first, and shows a complex mix of sea stars (P. ochraceus), mussels and various other invertebrates and sea weeds. I just loved the complexity of this image, and its varied colors and textures. It also reminded me of looking into a bowl of Cioppino or Bouillaisse perhaps. Go figure…maybe I’ve just been doing this too long.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these somewhat offbeat images. It was a fun afternoon crawling around the tide pools hoping not to find any sick sea stars.
Equipment: Nikon D3s, Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 lens; Sigma Ring Flash