Yes, we’re not even half way through 2020. But you too might be looking forward to when hindsight IS 2020.
What’s helped me with that is finalizing my WILD Calendar for next year.
I’ve made these calendars for more than a decade with the intent of creating further awareness about the diversity and fragility of life hidden in our cold, dark, life-sustaining seas.
Thank you to all who put these calendars into the world and what that might mean for education, connection and conservation.
Below, please see my images for the 2021 WILD Calendar. The selection process for which photos end up in the calendar includes voting on social media. But I also reflect on the biodiversity that must be represented.
For the WILD, for the lessons learned, and for the moving forward.
Above: January image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Otherworldly: This stalked jellyfish (Stauromedusae) is believed to be a new, yet-to-be-described species. A close relative is the Oval-Anchored Stalked Jelly (Haliclystus sp. max size 3 cm). Stalked jellies never become free-swimming, bell-shaped medusa. Their stalk is sticky to attach to Eelgrass, seaweeds or rocks in the shallows. Their 8 arms each have a “pom-pom” of 30 to 100 tentacles. These have stinging cells. They catch small crustaceans and bring this food to their mouth in the centre of the 8 arms. They are remarkably mobile. If a stalked jelly becomes detached, it can hold on by its tentacles and quickly reattach by its stalk.”
Above: February image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Trifecta: One = Nudibranch species the Pomegranate Aeolid (Cuthonella punicea to 2.5 cm). Two = Their only known prey, the stinging celled animals Raspberry Hydroids (to 5 cm) with the astounding scientific name Zyzzyzus rubusidaeus. Three = This nudibranch species’ egg ribbons laid atop of their prey, as is most often the way with nudibranchs. The egg ribbons are the little, white masses on the left. To date, this species and its specific hydroid prey have only been documented near Telegraph Cove and Quadra Island. The research putting forward that these hydroids are a new species was only published in 2013.”
Above: March image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Life-sustaining algae: In spring, the young “sporophyte” of Bull Kelp grows so fast. For the stem-like structure (stipe) of this alga, Nereocystis luetkeana, to be up to 36 m long, it has to grow an average of 17 cm/day over its approx. 210-day growing period. If you include the growth of the leaf-like structures (fronds), the maximum growth has been documented to be at least 25 cm/day. Note how green the water looks due to microscopic algae. The marine algae produce at least 50% of the Earth’s oxygen; they buffer carbon dioxide; they serve as carbon sinks; they fuel food webs and the kelp forests are habitat for so many species.”
Above: April image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Endangered: Northern Abalone belong in the shallows, at <10 m depth. This made intense harvesting easy. Illegal poaching continues. The ruffle of tissue with tentacles allows them to sense their way around. They have a strong escape response to some sea star species; striving to outrun and out-twist them! The holes in the shell are to bring oxygen-rich water to the gills. They are often near coralline algae (pink crusts here) but do not feed on them. They feed on kelp. Larval abalone respond to a chemical in coralline algae to settle atop them, grazing on diatoms there until they can eat larger algae. Haliotis kamtschatkana to 18 cm.”
Above: May image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Tail-lobbing giant: This is Frosty the Humpback (BCX1188), nicknamed for the white “frosting” on her dorsal fin. We first documented her in 2007 and recently learned from colleagues in SE Alaska that she was there as a first year calf in 2006. She has returned to NE Vancouver Island to feed almost every year since and had her first known calf in 2017 (nicknamed Wheat). Frosty sometimes uses the novel feeding strategy we have called “trap-feeding”. There’s so much to learn from our marine neighbours, even the well-documented giants easily visible at the surface. “We” = the Marine Education & Research Society, http://www.mersociety.org.”
Above: June image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Absolutely amazing: Young Basket Stars so often are on Red Soft Coral (Alcyonium sp). Why? Basket Star embryos develop INSIDE the polyps of the soft coral! It’s also thought the embryos feed on the soft coral’s eggs which brood inside the parent. When juvenile Basket Stars emerge from the coral’s polyps, they hang onto the outside till about 3 mm in disk diameter. Then, they crawl onto an adult Basket Star, shuffling off when approx. 5 cm. When adult Gorgonocephalus eucnemis’ 5 seeming infinitely branched arms are fully outstretched, width is up to 75 cm. Age is up to 35 years. Hermit crab may be a Whiteknee Hermit.”
Above: July image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Juvenile Wolf-Eel: While I was being carried by the current, drifting along a wall, I had the good fortune to chance upon this Wolf-Eel peeking out of her den. Such a marvel of a fish – beautiful, gentle, reclusive, long-lasting pair bonds and, not an eel at all. They are perfection for a life of crushing urchins with their strong, bony jaws. Even their palate is ossified. Wolf-Eels’ long tails can wrap around their egg masses, and their heads look like the rocks amid which they make their dens.“Apple-converted-space”> Mature male Anarrhichthys ocellatus to 2.4 m. Note too the tiny Basket Star hanging on to Red Soft Coral (as per last month’s featured photo).”
Above: August image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Let in the light: Black Rockfish at only approx. 5 m depth near the world’s biggest polyp, the Giant Plumose Anemone (Metridium farcimen to 1 m tall). Colder, high current and oxygen rich waters like these have more plankton. This plankton soup makes the water look dark whereby too many believe there is less life than in warmer seas. But the opposite is true. More plankton = more life and more giants including many of the world’s largest species. May awareness increase whereby we can be the voters, consumers and parents we need to be. Black Rockfish life expectancy is 50 years. Sebastes melanops to 69 cm.”
Above: September image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Scent in the sea: This tiny neighbour is a White-and-Orange-Tipped Nudibranch. Note the incredible surface area of the “rhinophores” – the two feathery structures extending from the nudibranch’s head. Different nudibranch species have different shapes to the rhinophores but the purpose is the same. They are sensory organs to detect chemicals to find food and potential mates and possibly avoid predators. The white and orange tipped structures are the “nudi” “branchs” = the naked gills. Species is known to feed on bryozoans. Antiopella fusca up to 2.5 cm. This individual is crawling on kelp (Agarum sp).”
Above: October image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “A life in sand: The Northern Moonsnail’s foot can inflate up to 4 times the size of what it is when in the shell through uptake of seawater A big foot is needed to dig for clams. They drill round holes into the clams with their radula (whelk species do this too). Moonsnail egg masses are amazingly constructed. Females lay1000s of eggs between 2 layers of sand glued together with mucus, forming a ~15 cm “collar”. They build this under the sand in 10 to 14 hours and then push it to the surface. Neverita lewisii’s shell is up to 14 cm. The little, white anemone is a Twelve-Tentacled Burrowing Anemone (Halcampa crypta to about 2.5 cm).”
Above: November image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: “Hermit home: Blackeyed Hermit Crab in a shell home made, and previously inhabited, by a moonsnail (see previous month’s image). It’s the preferred home for this hermit crab species. Note how the right claw is bigger in Blackeyed Hermit Crabs (and many other species of hermit crab who live in shells). This allows the crab to “close the door” when inside its shell. See too the intricacy of the mouthparts and sensory organs. The hair-like structures on the first antennae (highest structures in this image) have large surface area to sense smells / chemical signals in the water. Pagurus armatus’ carapace to 5 cm.”
Above: December image, 2021 WILD Calendar.
Caption is: ” In the dark: This species of anemone has the appropriate common name, the “White-Spotted Rose Anemone”. It belongs in the Urticina genus but, to date, is “undescribed”. This means it has not been assigned a species name. That would result from peer-reviewed, published research providing a detailed description and contrasting it to closely related species. This is an indication of how little we know even about common species found in the shallows. Considering the life-sustaining importance of the Ocean, may our decisions be guided by intergeneration vision and precaution rather than only potential for short-term economic gain.”
Above: The back cover with my head, tutu and a scene showing life JUST below the surface. You can even see the trees above the surface. The life here includes a Painted Anemone, Green Urchins, Split Kelp and, wafting like prayer flags, Ribbed Wing Kelp. 🙂
The image below shows the layout of the calendar pages.