There’s a non-toxic bloom of Eucampia phytoplankton (the C-shaped chains and spirals of microscopic diatoms pictured in this photo) currently coursing through the kelp forests of Monterey Bay—including our own! Like a large puff of pollen, trillions of these itty-bitty algae make the water look hazy, as planktivores across the Bay rejoice.
The Aquarium runs on an open-seawater system—at night, we let unfiltered water from the Bay run through the Kelp Forest to allow algal spores and invertebrate larvae to move in, creating a lush and verdant display that’s as close as you can get to a wild kelp forest without getting wetsuited up. And occasionally, planktonic passersby like Eucampia are even too tiny to be trapped by our daytime filters, milking their moment in the spotlight!
Thanks to water quality specialist/algaenius Chris for sharing this image of our seawater captured with a microscope during a routine plankton sample! Check out the bloom for yourself on our Kelp Forest Cam.