Dear readers, look! Just look!
These photos are from today. The baby Bull Kelp is growing toward the sun. With these images, I have tried to capture the aching beauty of the light “dancing” over the flowing fronds, creating rippling spectrums.
I cannot express in the way I want how watching this interplay filled me with a sense of comfort, continuance, exaltation and even relief.
While humans collide, love and lose, and may not even know what winning is, this continues despite it all (at least for now).
Life begins anew . . . the marvel of another spring . Phenology.
“Our” part of the planet is now tilted closer to the sun. Tomorrow, March 20th, coincidentally is spring equinox when the sun’s rays directly grace the equator in the earth’s journey around the sun. As we spin, the northern regions of the earth will progressively get more sun. It’s the first day of spring for we in the northern half of the planet.
There is more light to fuel the kelp’s growth and leads to food, oxygen, refuge, reduced carbon dioxide and whatever this heady, healing, emotional cocktail is that I am feeling right now.
I hope some of that transmits to you, through the photos and my effusiveness. ☺️
All photos here: March 19, 2022 northeast Vancouver Island in Kwakwaka’wakw Territory ©Jackie Hildering with dive buddy Natasha Dickinson.
More about this version of Bull Kelp and it’s growth rate:
Kelp species and seaweeds are not plants. They are algae.
What you see in these photos is the “sporophyte” stage of Bull Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana). It results from the reproduction of a completely different looking version of the same species, the “gametophye”. Yes, it’s alternation of generations and I have a blog about it here.
The stipe (stem-like structure) of Bull Kelp can grow to be up to 36 m long. The stipe would have to grow an average of 17 cm a day to reach this length in the 210-day growing period (source: Druel). It has to grow so quickly to reach the sun and be able to photosynthesize and help support life on earth.
If you include both the rate of growth of the stipe and the fronds (leaf-like structures), Bull Kelp can grow 25 cm per day on average to reach the surface (source: Duncan).
My additional posts about Bull Kelp include:
- What on Earth is “Alternation of Generations”? – how the version of Bull Kelp you see here grows from another very small and sexually reproducing version.
- Holdfast – about the structure with which Bull Kelp anchors to the bottom of the ocean.
- Every Breath You Take . . . . – about how much of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean’s algae no matter how far you are from her shores.
- Enough Carbon Monoxide to Kill a Chicken? – essential reading about how much carbon monoxide is in Bull Kelp.
- Journey Through Kelp
- Duncan, M. J. 1973. In situ studies of growth and pigmentation of the phaeophycean Nereocystis luetkeana. Helgolander Meere- € sun. 24:510–25.
- Druehl, Louis and Clarkston, Bridgette. 2000. Pacific Seaweeds – a guide to common seaweeds of the west coast.