Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts tagged ‘WILD calendar’

WILD 2021 Calendar – Looking forward

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.

Calendars are now for sale via this link.

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,;

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.


WILD 2020

It’s August 1st – the first day of a new month and how it makes me smile to think of people around the world flipping to a new page in my WILD calendar.

I’ve made these calendars for more than 10 years now with the intent of creating further awareness about the diversity and fragility of life hidden in our cold, dark, life-sustaining seas.

Thank you again to all who put these calendars into the world and what that might mean for education, connection and conservation.

Below, see my images for the 2020 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 i.e it can’t be all whales, fish or nudibranchs.

And yes, I softly say, the 2020 calendars are now for sale at this link.

For the wild  . .  .

Above: Cover of my 2020 WILD Calendar.

Above: January image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: ” Above all: What is hoped with these efforts, is that we move further out of the dark in understanding our marine neighbours. May we look at our dark ocean and envision colour, fragility, and biodiversity rather than having a bias to thinking there is more life in warmer waters.Thereby, undervaluing and disconnecting from what is so extraordinary and precious.This cold ocean is dark because there is more plankton = more fuel for the ecosystem = more life, and many giants.The life in this image includes Giant Plumose Anemones,Yellowtail Rockfish, Keyhole Limpet, Red Soft Coral, Crimson Anemones, etc!

Above: February image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Tiny predator: Diamondback Nudibranch,Tritonia festiva to 10 cm.Feeds on octocoral species like Red Soft Coral.See the beautiful “frontal veil” on the right?This is extremely sensitive.Allows them to find food and detect if it is worth the effort i.e.“used for locating expanded polyps of their prey and for carefully positioning the mouth over these in preparation for a surprise attack.The ensuing attack is swift, as the nudibranch lunges into the colony and bites off polyps before they can contract into the protective cover. . . will NOT attack contracted colonies.” (Source: Sea Slug Forum).”

Above: March image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Sea Otter in the rain: Sea Otters were completely wiped out in British Columbia by 1929. From 1969 to 1972, ~89 were translocated from SE Alaska to the outer coast of Vancouver Island. Now there are more than 6,800 off the coast of BC. Even with super dense fur, they need to eat up to a quarter of their body mass/day to survive in the cold Ocean. This leads to some of us perceiving them to be competitors who eat “too much”. Importance includes being a keystone species; maintaining kelp forests by eating the urchins that graze on kelp.”

Above: April image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “One Ocean: No matter where you are on Earth, you are near the Ocean. No matter how far you travel, you never left. The Ocean is on our mountains as glaciers; it flows through our streams; it builds our trees and it comes out of our taps. Indeed, the water on the planet now is that which was here even before there was life on Earth, perpetually morphing between gas, liquid and solid states. Stream is sea. Sea is stream. All life on Earth connected by Ocean.”

Above: May image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Remarkable reproduction: This tiny Proliferating Anemone expels fertilized eggs within a bath of mucus and she may have fertilized the eggs herself! Cilia move the mucus-covered eggs down the column where they become attached, enfolded, and will hatch and benefit from the protection of Mom’s tentacles for about 3 to 4 months, till siblings make them shuffle on. In this species, the young on the column can be of different ages (Epiactis prolifera to 3 cm).There is a larger species which also has babies on the column but these hatch inside the mother (Brooding Anemone, Epiactis lisbethae).”

Above: June image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “One family: Ripple (A43) born in 1981 to the threatened Northern Resident population (inshore fish-eating Orca who stay with their families their whole lives). Knowledge about her family, the A23 matriline, includes that at least 3 were hunted and captured (2 released after capture but Corky has been captive since Dec 1969) and at least another 3 have been hit by boats (2 survived).They were shot at too when that was our way and we did not understand how few there were and that there are 4 distinct populations off BC. Greatest threats now are the synergistic effects of prey availability / disturbance / contaminants.”

Above: July image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “In the forest: Bull Kelp swaying in the current, sun dancing down from above, everything in motion. Nereocystis luetkeana to 36 m and can grow up to 10 cm/day to better photosynthesize nearer the sun. So many reasons to value the kelp forests – oxygen, food, habitat, carbon dioxide buffering, navigation aid . . . and being so very, very beautiful.The Ocean’s algae produce 50% or more of your oxygen.”

Above: August image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Orange Peel Nudibranch: Take a moment to think about it? While you are up here walking around, doing what you do, this is one of the thousands of extraordinary species crawling, swimming, swaying in the dark, rich NE Pacific Ocean.The Orange Peel Nudibranch is one of the world’s largest sea slugs at up to 30 cm (Tochuina gigantea). It’s such an appropriate common name for the species. This individual is amid Short Plumose Anemones (Metridium senile).”

Above: September image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Trap-Feeding: This Humpback Whale is “Moonstar” (BCY0768).Through the work of our Marine Education and Research Society, we know that he was born in 2008 to “Slash” (BCY0177) who has very serious scarring from a boat propeller. He is one of the first Humpbacks we ever documented using a novel strategy we have dubbed trap-feeding.When juvenile herring are in less dense concentrations, and are being pursued by diving birds, some Humpbacks have learned to hang at the surface like this and trap the fish. See for our published research.”

Above: October image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “Along for the ride: Cross Jelly covered with amphipod hitchhikers. Hyperiid amphipods are tiny marine crustaceans and they may have species-specific relationships with jellies. Includes that they may parasitize the jelly, embedding in its tissue.These appear to be atop the jelly, certainly well-positioned to get good access to plankton snacks. Plankton = all the “drifting” organisms, from microscopic larvae to huge jellies. Cross Jelly is Mitrocoma cellularia, diameter to 9 cm.”

Above: November image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: “At the haul out: Steller Sea Lions males up to ~1,100 kg; females ~300 kg. Can be very difficult to discern juvenile males from females. Males sexually mature at ~age 7. Continue to grow to ~age 10. The big boys compete for females at rookery sites further to the north on BC’s Central Coast. Size needed to posture, fight and have an energy store if needing to defend territory. Eumetopias jubatus is a species of Special Concern in Canada.”

Above: December image, 2020 WILD Calendar. Caption is: ” Let there be light: See the jellyfish, and the trees? The algae and the anemones? Feel the connection between it all? “Our destiny as a species is interlocked with the destiny of the sea . . . .” (Quote: James Cameron). No divide. Directly connected. Directly dependent. Directly empowered to care more, and consume less. Power to you for caring, understanding, and undertaking action as you do.”

Above: Back cover, 2020 WILD Calendar. Striped Sea Star, Creeping Pedal Sea Cucumbers and so much more. And, for the first time ever in my calendars, there is a picture of my head. 🙂

Above: Sample of what the month pages look like in the WILD Calendar.

These are large calendars printed on sturdy paper, coil bound and with a hole to hang them.

They are 33 x 26.5 cm closed and 33 x 53 cm open (13 x 10.5″ closed /13 x 21″ open).

They are mailed in biodegradable, transparent plastic envelopes.

For information on purchasing on line, please click this link. 

They are also available at:

  • Alert Bay – Culture Shock Gallery
  • Port Hardy – West Coast Community Craft Shop
  • Port McNeill – Island Dawn’s
  • Campbell River – Campbell River Museum
  • Squamish – Adventure Centre

Vote for the 2014 WILD Calendar!

Hello dear The Marine Detective community, 

I would value your input into the 2014 WILD Northern Vancouver Island Calendar. 

I have been putting together this calendar of my images for years now, in order to hopefully raise awareness about the incredible beauty, diversity and fragility of our marine environment (and our connection to it).

You can help determine what images end up in the calendar by “voting” before the end of Oceans Day – June 8th, 2013. You can do so by one of three methods:

  1. If you have a FaceBook account, you can click “like” for your favourites in the album at this link.
  2. Otherwise, you can click this link on my photo page and by hovering over the larger image, a thumbs up or thumbs down symbol appears. 
  3. You can click one of the images below to start a slide show and then leave your comments under the images; a simple “vote” or “yes” would do. I suspect that this may be the most onerous method however! 

In determining what 12 images end up in the calendar, I will also have to reflect on the diversity of the images so that there is appropriate representation of the eastern N. Pacific marine ecosystem i.e. not just all whales or all fish. 

As always – all feedback welcome! 

You can see the last two years’ WILD calendar at this link.