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Beach Walks and Plankton Tows

April 12, 2019

By Samantha Zeman

When your Newport Line trip is cancelled, you do the next best thing; take a walk on the beach.

Woody debris at Ona Beach, south of Newport. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Heavy rainfall and snowmelt have created unusually high river flows. This is evident on the coast with debris fields along the coast and washed up on shore. It's an important reminder of the connection between rivers and coastal systems.  

While beachcombing among the woody debris, we also encountered the familiar springtime arrival of Velella velella.

Patch of small Velella velella along the wrack line Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Example of average size of washed up Velella (bottom). These individuals are smaller then what we usually see at this time of year. Keep an eye out for different sizes! Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Plankton tows from a winter phytoplankton bloom. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Washing down the bongo net on a chilly, clear day with the snowy Oregon Coast Range in the background. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

But have no fear, we have been continuing our usual Newport Line sampling throughout winter and early spring. With the trusty R/V Elakha back in business, we have sampled during chilly, snowy beach days and winter phytoplankton blooms. Our most recent cruise at the end of March was full of a variety of zooplankton taxa, including multiple species of crab larvae, chaetognaths, and bivalve veliger. 

We are looking for out next weather window and should be back on the water soon!

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Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on December 28, 2021