Monday, April 27, 2009

Extreme Low Tide - updated


The tops of purple sea fans (Gorgonia ventalina) were exposed to the air for hours yesterday during flat calm sea conditions and an extremely low spring tide. The beacon at Eastern Blue Cut is in the background.

While dramatic, the surprisingly low low tide was a normal spring event. Tide predictions for Sunday show a very low tide was expected [see link]. Regardless, the tops of soft corals out on the reef, as well as seagrass meadows across Bermuda (see below), were exposed for hours to bright sunlight and little wind. This will probably result in some mortality and subtle ecological effects that will take some months to restore to normal.

The brown substrate in the forground is a subaerially exposed seagrass meadow.
This bay pictured above is normally under 3 ft of water,
but was exposed during the spring tide at the end of April
.