July 10, 2017

Emptied tide pools tell the story of Kachemak Bay’s disrupted ecosystem

A tide pool on the south side of Kachemak Bay, near Bear Cove, on Sunday (Charles Wohlforth / Alaska Dispatch News)

Never before this summer have I found as few creatures in the tide pools of the Kachemak Bay beaches that I’ve walked much of my life.

There are no sea stars. That’s astounding and weird. Normally, various species of many colors and sizes are everywhere at low tide.

Mussels that formed blue mats along a certain level of the intertidal rock and gravel are missing. Spots where they attached by their byssal threads in multiple layers now have just a few tiny individuals. Most of those rocks are instead bare or clothed in barnacles.

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