Marine Life at Sargeant Bay by Joop Burgerjon
The intertidal marine life at Sargeant Bay Provincial Park is consistent with similar protected sites in the Pacific Northwest. The sheltered bay has a sandy bottom that is evident at low tides. The shoreline is covered with rocks of varying sizes at both the mid- and high intertidal zones. Above the high intertidal zone, a variety of logs can be found stranded on the beach, left over from past logging activities elsewhere. Burrowing holes made by Feathery Shipworms are often found in these logs. Common species found along the rocky shoreline include the Purple Shore Crab, Acorn Barnacle and Little Brown barnacle. At the lowest of tides, Bay Ghost Shrimp and Nuttall’s Cockle can be found burried in the sand.
When a rock is turned over, a Calcareous Tube Worm may be found attached to the underside of the rock. The worms are seldom seen, but their calcareous tubes are easily spotted. They withdraw within their tubes as soon as they are touched or when the tide leaves them dry. Be sure to return all rocks to their original position as that the marine life found on and under the rocks will not dry out or be crushed.
In the shallow sub-tidal waters, Hooded Nudibranchs are often found attached to eelgrass in great numbers. They catch small crustaceans that live on the eelgrass, some as large as Skeleton Shrimps.
A wide variety of fish find the eelgrass beds an excellent area to call “home”. A common species in the eelgrass is the Bay Pipefish. The males of this remarkable species “appear” to be pregnant, as they incubate the eggs in a pouch under their body.
The Bering Hermit is choosy about its dress. At Sargeant Bay it always uses a Moonsnail shell to cover its abdomen. Since 1987, when we began keeping records at Sargeant Bay, they have only been observed during the years 1994-97.
The Pumpkinseed Sunfish is an invasive species stirring up concern for Sunshine Coast aquatic ecosystems. The fish has a sparkle of colours that make them almost look tropical or like a colourful perch. The fish, native to eastern North America, can be considered a nuisance species, according to the department of Fisheries and Oceans website. They eat amphibians and small fish alike and can reach high densities, competing with native fish. They also have disastrous consequences for the local stickleback. If you come across one while fishing, please don’t put them back in the water.
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