We first did a zooplankton "drop"- the first I've done in a long time. Actually, I'm used to trawls behind a ship, so this was a bit different, and came up with a much smaller sample, but one still with many interesting organisms, including a miniature shrimp. With apologies for the videofeed, there is one swimming about below. There was also a phytoplankton drop, and I got to see my first diatoms in a long time, alive that is. Cute little glass buggers, I think.
Next to the TV-scope where they show the plankton is a "wetlab", with Seapens and California Market Squid eggs. (Yes, that's their actual common name. I'm not sure what they're most commonly used for though.) Seapens are colonial Cniderians, related to anemones and jellies. (Those are what we used to call jellyfish, but we dropped that a bit after we stopped calling seastars starfish. It's a PC thing, but frankly the lawsuits from the respective jellies and seastars weren't worth the hassle.)
After the plankton bit we spent the rest of the day on the best of God's creatures, the invertebrates, and I must confess my mind is now awash with too much information to process all at once. The nudibranch and sedentary polychaetes we looked at in the invertebrate survey were particularly interesting. Polychaetes may be worms, but they clearly demonstrate how beautiful a worm can be.
On the mainfloor is the "jelly donut", where the moon jellies continually swim in a generated circular current. I learned that there actually are a couple poisonous varieties of jelly in the waters of the Puget Sound- the Fried Egg and Lion's Mane Jellies, reaching up to eight feet in diameter with forty foot tentacles. They say confession is good for the soul, so let me also say I've spent a good half hour repeatedly watching this video in order to better understand their propulsion procedure. Go ahead- it's both fascinating and meditative!
And for the kids, there's a wetlab, one-finger touch area, with anemone and seastars galore. I loved the clam (death) bed, the sad remains of many seastar lunches.
Towards the end I took the opportunity to stand before the Pacific Rim display, remembering many old dear friends from Hawaii- clown triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang (Dory), and a bit of a surprise...