Welcome to the Marine Encyclopedia Blog

Posted by Andy on Apr 13, 2011 - 2 comments

Welcome to the Marine Encyclopedia Blog, the interactive connection to the online version of Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. The authors and Harbour Publishing are pleased to present this opportunity for you to share this forum.

Since the hard copy of Marine Life appeared in 2005, we have received much feedback – virtually all positive – from all quarters. It appears that our primary goal of producing a comprehensive reference which allows people to identify organisms that they have encountered throughout the Pacific Northwest has been attained.

A most gratifying “spin off” result has been the many conversations, either in person or by email, generated via inquiries made to Bernie and Andy. Sharing these opportunities has been both enjoyable and instructive for us. The creation of this blog with the availability of an online version of Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest provides a means of turning the book into a veritable “living organism”.

Like other hard copy references, Marine Life is subject to becoming “dated” as new information is generated post release. The online version provides a solution as it can be updated quickly, as needed. To this end, we will be making numerous adjustments and updates that will appear online.

However, we anticipate involving you, the interested readership and “extra eyes” upon or in Pacific Northwest waters. To date, many excellent reports and photographs have crossed our desks concerning organisms people have encountered during their explorations. Often working with our cadre of scientific authorities, we have verified numerous significant discoveries and behaviours. Many of these findings will hopefully lead to inclusion in the online version of Marine Life.

This blog allows this process to reach another level and offers a more direct option for your participation and contribution. As an initial example, we present the following illustrated vignette, anticipating it will stimulate your interest.

Karin Fletcher and Doug Miller are SCUBA diving buddies we encountered as a direct result of their interest and use of Marine Life as a post dive reference. They have contributed items to Andy’s regular mystery critter feature in Northwest Dive News, a source that continues to offer a connection for divers with questions about marine life.

During a recent outing at Day Island, a popular SCUBA site near Tacoma, Washington, Karin and Doug came across a rather remarkable scene. As they were finishing the dive along the gravel bottomed shallows, they were attracted by the writhing motion of a small, bright red worm. Upon closer inspection, they noticed it was under attack from a six-lined ribbon worm Tubulanus sexlineatus. Indeed the ribbon worm had impaled the prey with the harpoon-like tip of its elongated proboscis. The subsequent struggle resulted in the prey becoming entangled in the extended proboscis as the accompanying photographs show.


Familiar with the six-lined ribbon worm, Karin and Doug forwarded the image, inquiring about what had transpired and the identity of the victim. The answer to the final part of the question is still in process – although it is obviously a polychaete worm. The image has been forwarded to Sheila Byers (a.k.a. “Dr. Worm”) in pursuit of the little red worm’s identity. Without a specimen to examine and using the available photographs that unfortunately do not illustrate key features of the head area, Sheila’s initial reaction was that the unfortunate victim was a species of orbit worm (Family: Orbiniidae). Stay tuned though, as Shelia plans to plough through her references and likely confer with colleagues on this matter.

With Karin and Doug’s enthusiastic permission, we will be adding one of their images to the online version of Marine Life with a suitable caption and acknowledgment.

We invite you to send your questions and unidentified photographs to andylamb@telus.net, or leave your queries in the comments below.