Tidepooling in the Gulf of California

DSCF2921

Looking out over the Gulf of California from the Sonoran Spa Resort. Photographed 06/11/2015 in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez) is one of the most biologically diverse marine environments on earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known to some as “the world’s aquarium,” this sea is home to a wide variety of plants, invertebrates, fish, sea turtles, and large mammals like dolphins, whales, and the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.

DSCF2675

Tidepool along the Gulf of California at low tide. Photographed 06/11/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend some time tidepooling along the Gulf of California this past weekend. We were staying near Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico for Circus Mexicus but had a lot of free time throughout the day to get a taste of what “the world’s aquarium” had to offer. The tides here can vary by as much as 15 to 25 feet (4.6 – 7.6 meters), creating a wide tidal zone that is ripe for exploration.

DSCF2692

Hermit crab and snail shells along the beach. Photographed 06/11/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Although I lack much experience in marine zoology, I thought some of the organisms we encountered were really cool and I wanted to share photos of them here. The first animal we encountered was a young hermit crab making a home out of a small gastropod shell.

DSCF2884

Hermit crab in a snail shell. Photographed 06/11/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Next was the test (shell) of a particular sea urchin commonly known as a sand dollar

DSCF2672

Sand dollar shell photographed 06/11/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Then there was this tiny white crab among a number of vacant snail shells…

DSCF2685

Tiny crab and snail shells in a tide pool. Photographed 06/11/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Even this humble green beach worm seemed to leave its mark among the abundant worm tracks…

DSCF2898

Beach worm photographed 06/12/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Some bivalve mollusc shells were more photogenic than others…

DSCF2799

Bivalve mollusc shell photographed 06/12/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

This one seemed even prettier…

DSCF2809

Bivalve mollusc shell photographed 06/12/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

And we also came across many larvae of this particular species of shrimp or lobster…

DSCF2805

Larva of a shrimp or lobster. Photographed 06/12/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

The beaches here were really amazing, not only for their appearance and comfort but for the amazing organisms they harbored. While we didn’t get to see some of the large animals that call these waters home, the humble invertebrates and gorgeous views alone made this location a worthwhile destination.

DSCF2755

Sunset view of the beach along the Gulf of California. Photographed 06/12/2015 near Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Environment, Invertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s