Rocky Shore 

February 19, 2010

Farallones Bound!

The Rocky Intertidal Survey team, organized by the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, is of to the Farallon Islands for our February sampling.  I have been running around all day gathering books, supplies and other resources.  I finally took the time to track down books and papers in the Academy libraries.  Thanks to Becky and Danielle in the library, Liz in Invertebrate Zoology & Geology and the great naturalist center staff I found some beautiful scinetific, historical and artistic writings on the Farallones.

Here is an assortment of the things I found today (This is one of the reasons I love working in a museum!)

From a collection of poems by Milton Smith Ray (Curator of the Ornithological Pacific Museum -a huge collection of nests and eggs, kept at his mansion-its for sale, check it out here) written in 1934 and used in the preface of Sarah Ward Koontz’s Master’s thesis on the sponges of the Farallon Islands.

Sea Gardens

On island merges everywhere

Save the narrow beaches walled and bare

Of pebbly shingle, shell or sand,

Swayed by the sea tides to and fro,

The dreaming gardens of the ocean grow.

With the wide retreat of the war-like wave

From rock-bound basin, cove and cave,

What hidden beauty lies revealed

That the foaming tide before concealed!

More verdant than the April mead

The skirts the island’s southern strand,

Are these bands and beds of curious weed!

With graceful ferns and subtile moss,

As fine as webs of silken floss,

Sway blooms grotesque of rarer hue

Than hand empearled with glistenin

g dew!

And here are the myriads of da

inty shells,

Asleep on the banks of weedy dells,

Or cast adrift on the sandy bars.

Like thistles huge amid the vines,

Cling the sea urchins

of unnumbered spines;

And strewn on rocky bank and bed,

Purple, dark, and richest red,

Like forlorn, forgott


en, fallen stars.

In Sarah Ward Kloontz’s thesis she inventoried all of the sea caves on the Farallones and figured all of the sponge zonation patterns in each cave. Finally getting around to reading this, helped me identify some of the sponges we saw in Jewel Cave last year.  I was especially happy to find the name (I think)  of this crazy sponge, Stelletta clarella:


I found a bunch of other stuff:

Maps, lists of species collected by the Farallones Research Group in the 1970s, a State Water Resources Report that resulted from those trips.  When I get back in March, I will go look at some rare books on the Farallones

we have in the Academy library.

Mildred Brooke Hoover (Herbert Hoover’s sister-in-law) and the Chair of the Historic Research Committee gave a paper on the Farallon Islands on April 5, 1932 to the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of California.  Her beautiful historical account includes maps drawn by Pedro Font (a member of the Jaun de Bautista de Anza’s second expedition in 1776).  She excepts it like this (th harbour of Harbours is the SF Bay):farallontraces

Compare this to a picture of the islands….


I also found a book from an old California Academy of Sciences exhibit from Wild California Hall in 1997.  I had forgotten about this exhibit, but it was a collaborative effort of the Academy, the Oakland Museum of California, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and four local artists. We will be working at West End this time!!

Check out one example:

This is Farallones, West End, Sunset, 1995 by Tony King

My next post will be from the island!


Filed under: Farallon Islands,Intertidal Research — rebecca @ 6:37 pm

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