Friends of Haystack Rock
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This month's Creature Feature
Water Jelly

Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium
What's that blob!?!  The Pacific ocean hosts a variety of gelatinous species, and depending on the tide, they end up along Oregon's shore lines.  This summer, our beach was inundated with one species in particular: the water jelly.  So many washed up that some locals began to refer to 2016 as "The Summer of the Water Jelly."

Water jellies are found along the entirety of the West Coast, from Alaska to California.  Like all jellyfish, they're scientifically categorized as a plankton.  Water jellies can't move against the ocean's currents, and are thus at the mercy of local ocean conditions.  
As they drift, the jellies unfurl their 100 plus poisoned-laced tentacles.  Have no fear, though, the water jelly's tentacles aren't harmful to humans!  They are, however, laced with nematocysts.  Nematocysts are specialized cells that contain a barbed, sometimes venomous structure, shaped like a coiled thread.  Nematocysts occur in animals scientifically grouped as coelenterates; anemones are another celenterate, which also uses nematocysts.  
Although the water jelly's nematocysts are too weak to affect humans, it effectively employs them for both self-defense and to capture prey.  A majority of the water jelly's diet is comprised to zooplankton, such as copepods and other larvae plankton.  Its appetite is so voracious that the density of water jellies in any particular aquatic area has a direct inverse correlation to the zooplankton density of that area.  In other words, the more water jellies, the less plankton.  
The water jelly is hunted and consumed by other larger jellyfish, such as the Brown Sea Nettle and the Lion's Mane Jelly.  There are even document cases of water jelly cannibalism. It's hard to blame the jelly, though, because with no heart, blood, or brain, it just might not know any better!  
The lifecycle of water jellies is quite fascinating. Early in the spring, tiny jellies begin to form and then bud away from their hydroid colonies.  These tiny jellies grow rapidly until they reach about 3 cm in diameter, at which point their growth rate slows and energy redirects to gamete production.  These tiny jellies have separate sexes, and will "free-spawn" either their eggs or sperm into the ocean daily.  The eggs are thus fertilized, floating in the water, where they they develop into swimming planulae larvae.  These larvae eventually settle down on hard surfaces, and grow into new hydroid colonies.  This process repeats annually.
A couple of cool facts about water jellies:
  • Water jellies are capable of producing bioluminesce.  The light they produce is a faint bluish which, to us, may appear more green.  
  • Sometimes, animals called hyperiid amphipods actually live within water jellies; check the shoreline and see if you can spot one!

Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

Haystack Rock Awareness Program
Join us for *free guided beach talks

Saturday, October 1 9:00am
Saturday, October 8  10:30am 
Saturday, October 15  4:30pm 
Saturday, October 22  11:00am 
*Donation of $10 suggested
For large group or private tours contact Lisa Habecker, Education Coordinator or 503.436.8064

Welcome new Friends of Haystack Rock Board Members

Angela Benton
Angela recently moved to Oregon from Fairfax, Virginia after retiring from Fannie Mae. She worked at Fannie Mae in Washington D.C. for 28 years, serving as the Vice President for Mortgage Operations since 1996. Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach have been special to Angela and her family. They have been regular visitors over the past 30+ years. Angela lives in Cannon Beach with her husband Jim. 

Craig Davidson
Craig is originally from the rural Midwest and moved to the West Coast as a teenager and never left.  "I have to be near the Pacific Ocean, and I've long ago given up trying to figure out why.  It's enough just to be here and volunteering at and caring for Haystack Rock brings me as close as I can get.  Why would anyone leave?"

Nadine Norquist
Nadine began as an HRAP volunteer in 2012, then joined the team that year as a staff member. She is a Cannon Beach resident, who has been heavily involved in community based programs. She continues to volunteer in the community through Solve and now as a FOHR board member 
2016 Library Lecture Series
First Wednesday of Each Month

November 9 Wayne Hoffman-Peregrine Falcons of Yaquina Head

December 14 Neal Maine-The Oregon Beach Bill-50 Years

January 11 Roy Lowe-The Precipitous Loss of China's Coastal Wetlands and Impacts to Migratory Birds in the East-Asian Australasian Flyway

February 8 Bob Van Dike-How to Help Protect over 50,000 Acres of Forest in Clatsop County

March 8 Tommy Swearingen-Oregon Marine Reserves: An Overview of the Human Dimensions Research Program

April 12 Tom Horning-Geology of Haystack Rock

Lectures are held at the Cannon Beach Library
131 N. Hemlock

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Friends of Haystack Rock is a non-profit organization that provides guidance and financial support for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) in cooperation with the City of Cannon Beach promoting the preservation and protection of the intertidal life and birds that inhabit the Marine Garden and the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.
Friends of Haystack Rock is guided by a volunteer board of directors and advisors consisting of committed community members.

Friends of Haystack Rock
PO Box 1222
Cannon Beach, OR 97110

Board Members: Tracy Abel, Stacy Benefield, Angela Benton, Susan Boac,
Tiffany Boothe, Keith Chandler, Craig Davidson, Lori Fraser, Nadine Norquist, and Claudine Rhen
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