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The ocean is full of life: giant gray whales trek thousands of miles between summer feeding and winter breeding grounds, schools of fish are pursued by hungry predators, tide pools burst with life. When we think about the ocean, it is often these large animals that first come to mind. But there is another world, a smaller world, that allows this larger world to exist. Plankton are small plants and animals carried by the ocean currents. Some will grow to be fish or invertebrates; others spend their lives at the base of the food chain. In addition, eggs are laid on rock surfaces, in cracks and crevices, and other creatures live below the surface of the sea floor. All are part of the intricate web of ocean life.

Are You my Mother??

The transformation from egg to adult marine animal is often astonishing. Below are some eggs and juveniles that have recently been found in our tanks, along with photos of their grown-up counterparts.


Moon jellies

Fluffy Sculpins


Juvenile barnacle
and adult
gooseneck barnacle

A mother hermit crab with eggs, babies, and an adult hermit crab.


Scarlet king crab

Egg, baby, and adult Octopus
rubescens (red ocotopus)


Eggs and adult Hermissenda
crassicornis (nudibranch)

Under the Lens

Observing under the microscope

Seaside Aquarium’s Administrative Assistant Tiffany Boothe has been recently working on a project to document the variety of plankton found in our surf zone at different times of the year. She uses a fine-meshed plankton net to create a concentrated sample and then places a few drops of that water under the microscope.


There are two types of plankton: zooplankton and phytoplankton. Zooplankton, or animal plankton, range in size from the microscopic to three inches long and feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton, plant plankton, include diatoms: singlecelled plants which come in a wide array of shapes and form the base of the food chain.

Variety of Plankton
A wide variety of plankton can be found in a small sample from the surf zone.

We know that certain plankton is more prevalent at specific times of the year. Large amounts of the phytoplankton noctaluca are responsible for toxic "red tides" each summer. Tiffany is looking for other trends, as well as supplying the Interpretive Center with fresh plankton samples for visitors.







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Seaside Aquarium, 200 North Prom, Seaside, Oregon 97138 Tel: (503) 738-6211.