Glowing Plankton

Bioluminescent Phytoplankton in the Jenner Estuary:
Suki Waters

August 8, 2013

I picked up a good friend on our local sub list, still in her leg cast per other work, and drove her out to help me confirm how the glow had changed.  Good company is often more enjoyable than being anticipatory of the potential glow on your own.

There is anticipation since they're equally predictable as  seasonal weather.

Previous and current outdoor trends prompted good feelings that conditions were lining up well.

We scouted two steep river mouth and ocean overlooks as well as two estuary bank locations.

Our Glitters (glittering critters) were just blooming in the break at the river mouth a week ago.

Now the waves are all aglow and you can see the trails of lit up seals swimming in the river mouth cove from the overlooks.

There were also sparks at our main boat launch location.

Our main launch is in an eddy just on the mainland edge of the deeper main freshwater channel around the island. This is also in the main block of the  businesses, with the River's End Restaurant, in the Burke Rivera on the North Western edge of town, rounding out that edge of our winding road community .

Yes.  We are truly a rural hamlet.

This section of deeper fresh water at the kayak launch has less salt water, yet the plankton is now dense enough to see bait fish burst into glowing blue green streaks as they sprint towards deeper water, when the estuary edge is stirred.

Warmer days coming means it should become stronger in our main Plankton Play locations, intensifying for our scheduled night tours.

Monday and Tuesday should also be great during the Perseids meteor shower even if it overcasts a bit for the Perseids.

Saturday is another great choice for the glow. However, the peak of the Perseid Meteors are always August 11 - 13.

We would love to see our normal double light show, but note that the glow in our water is often stronger than the tours in La Jolla ever get.  Confirmed by a local guide that moved to La Jolla specifically to train.  He had no idea of our glow here until he came back home.  Ask me to tell the story sometime. In the mean time, feel the benefits of the forecast changing to clear nights.

Note: Anyone want to train to take plankton samples for linked state agency tracking more often?

We train volunteers and would to also like to add two North Sonoma coast locations to the map.  Our current two location just dropped off the map per staffing and plankton tube mail timing. We will appear in next month's report.  In the mean time, you can see the general progression per the tracking stations just south of us. See the HAB Map link in our Sonoma Coast Watch tab.

We share viewing the samples, with mini microscopes, and cleaning our plankton nets in front of the Jenner Visitor Center.

Wishing you all sparking memories,

Suki Waters


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