Creatures of the night

After a week to observe the ocean and put our nets in the water at various times, we have seen quite a different community of creatures at night than we do during the day. Granted it is trickier to see things like dolphins and whales at night, so those observations are expected to change.

However, the results from our nightly net tows have been quite different than those during the day. These differences can be due to the fact that many organisms retreat to the depths during the day. At night, they can swim closer to the surface to feed when they are not as risk from being seen by larger predators. Simultaneously, this nightly shift in prey near the surface can attract a different set of predators, resulting in overall observed community differences. Here are a few of the our nighttime finds!

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A squid caught in our vertical plankton tow offshore from Point Conception, California (likely a swordtail squid, Chiroteuthis calyx). Photo Credit: Emma Hodgson
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We believe this is a glass shrimp (Pasiphaea pacifica), found in North Baja in a Bongo net. But open to suggestions. (Post below if you have ideas!) Photo Credit: Melissa Ward
flyingfish
We had the luck to come across a school of flying fish during our night sampling, and got to watch them jump over 10 feet high. Although they can be seen at anytime of day, they seemed to like the lights on the boat and stayed nearby. Photo Credit: Endless Ocean Wiki http://bit.ly/1oIDbBl
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Pteropods (snail-shaped) species Limacina inflata amidst a variety of other plankton. Photo Credit: Melissa Ward
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Pleuroncodes planipes (Tuna Crab) larvae in a petri dish, caught in a Bongo net. Photo credit: Emma Hodgson
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Many of our scientists fit the bill for ‘creatures of the night’ as well. Photo Credit: Emma Hodgson
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A pyrosome, colonial tunicate, collected from one of the Bongo nets, photographed when the sun rose. Photo credit: Emma Hodgson

Stay tuned for our daytime finds in a post to come!

 

Author: Melissa Ward

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