Students from Westchester Lutheran came to White’s Landing for a five day visit, and they were a blast to teach! They participated in many educational workshops and recreational activities. One of the educational workshops included learning about the coastal life here on Catalina. This workshop includes a short kayak trip and a visit to the cove’s very own tide pools. They found many animals hiding under rocks and in small pools of sea water, from the tiniest of hermit crabs to the beautiful sea anemones. They even got a chance to see some moray eels hunting.
Intertidal pools are a very unique, rocky shore habitat that are affected by the daily tides. Among other factors, the tides are primarily caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. In Southern California and near Catalina Island, our coastline experiences two high tides and two low tides within a 24 hour period, and occur about 6 hours apart. After a high tide, as the water level drops (or “ebbs”), pools of water are left behind in cracks, holes, and between rocks. These pools of water allow marine organisms, such as crabs, sea anemones and small fish, to survive at low tide for 6 hours. These pools prevent them from drying out (desiccation) and provides oxygenated water so they can respirate. However, these animals still face some hardships. For example, pools that are farther away from the waves will end up being warmed by the sun, causing the water to evaporate, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the water and increases the salt concentration within the pools. There are some tide pool animals that end up being exposed to air right away once the tide begins to ebb. These animals, such as the snails, mussels, and sea anemones, hunker down and hold on tightly to the rocks so that they won’t get picked up by predators, or get washed away by the waves. To avoid desiccation, crabs and hermit crabs will hide under rocks or in cracks to stay moist, and sea anemones will retract their beautiful tentacles and cover the outside of their bodies with shells and small rocks to camouflage and to block out the sun!
The tide pools are an amazing place to visit and a great place to see many intertidal animals and algae. I was very happy to share this experience with the kids of Westchester Lutheran, and I hope they had enjoyed the experience as well!
by Danielle Lasseigne, program specialist for The Catalina Experience