The green sea anemone may not be one of the most charismatic ocean animals. Of course, it doesn't play with garden hoses for fun like our young sea lions, and it doesn't put on shows for right whale researchers like that calf in the Bay of Fundy. But its vibrant colors and feats of strength make this tidepool resident worthy of a closer look!
Did you know that many of the specimens in this exhibit have been around for decades? These long-lived anemones thrive on the oxygen-rich water that crashes into the exhibit periodically, surprising some visitors. Just take a look...wait for it...
Video originally posted here.
As you can see, the anemones are well-adapted to living in the waves. Waves crush, abrade, and scour. In spite of this, plants and animals have developed special, often ingenious ways of coping. Sea anemones form attachments with a smooth, muscular disk on which they can slide very slowly. They can survive short periods of low tide exposure to the air by retracting their body and tentacles into a round, water-retaining mass.
The animals in this exhibit hail from the Pacific northwest, like its giant Pacific octopus neighbor. The water is cold and rich with nutrients. You may also find sea stars, kelp, urchins and a few hardy fish in tidepools like this. In the wild, the abundant
food supply in these tidepools and adjacent kelp forests also attracts sea
otters and seals.
Compare the animals in this tidepool with those that you would find in tidepools around New England. Around here you might find rockweed instead of kelps, more
mussels and crabs, smaller fish and fewer anemones and urchins. Come by sometime to see for yourself!