Feb 24, 2009: Hama Hama Oysters Break Fast


How's this for food photography:


For the past couple of months Adam has been collecting saltwater and giving the samples to Pete Becker of Little Skookum Shellfish. Pete examines the water under a microscope and looks for shellfish food. Now, last week the weather looked like this:


And so it was calm enough for barge workers Adam and Miguel to notice that the water looked greener than usual. They suspected a plankton bloom. Confirmation came today when Pete emailed over these photos of phyto plankton he took while examining a Hama Hama water sample. This is oyster food! dsc_3800-edit2

Here's what Pete had to say about the plankton:

These are chain formers and reproduce rapidly each spring as cell division takes place at each end of the chain at the same time. If the chain gets broken by wave action they just reproduce all the faster, likewise if something bites the chain up in pieces like a zooplankter.
Oysters basically hibernate in the winter: their metabolism slows way down because of cold water and lack of plankton. This plankton bloom means that there's plenty of food for the oysters to eat and that spring is definitely on its way.

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