Sabtu, 02 Januari 2021

Sea Pickles Wash Up on San Luis Obispo County Beaches - Noozhawk

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Beachgoers who visited Morro Strand State Beach last week likely saw hundreds of oblong, translucent sea pickles strewn on the sand.

Marlin Harms photographed the sea pickles with Morro Rock and groups of surfers in the background. He said the creatures had washed ashore down the entire length of the beach the day he took his photos.

Sea pickles are also known as pyrosomes, or “fire-bodies,” because they can glow with blue bioluminescence, the Monterey Bay Aquarium said on Twitter.

“They’re planktonic colonies of filter-feeding animals known as tunicates, which are some of our closest invertebrate cousins,” the aquarium said in a tweet.

Each sea pickle contains a colony of tiny organisms known as zooids, represented by what look like small bumps on the creatures’ surface, said Andrew DeVogelaere, head of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Program.

The sea pickles float on water and “are just going to go wherever the ocean takes them,” DeVogelaere said.

He said there may be larger quantities of sea pickles in the ocean because of climate change, which could be creating warmer water and increasing their population.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium said in a tweet the sea pickles mostly live offshore, but reports of sightings spike this time of year. Thousands of sea gooseberries, a species of comb jelly, also washed up on Southern California beaches during the Christmas weekend, according to the Sacramento Bee.

John Lindsey, a Pacific Gas & Electric meteorologist, suggested in an email the southwesterly winds that came with San Luis Obispo County’s recent winter storm may have contributed to the sea pickles’ appearance on Morro Bay beaches.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know, but winter storms, wind and waves tend to pull these open-ocean/deeper-water communities into situations where they wash up for people to see,” according to the aquarium.

[Click here for more stories from The San Luis Obispo Tribune.]

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January 02, 2021 at 10:33AM
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Sea Pickles Wash Up on San Luis Obispo County Beaches - Noozhawk

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