Wonderful Waterful Wednesday

Arctic Sunflower Stars
Subarctic sunflower stars, Prince William Sound in Alaska.Photo: NaGISA - Casey Debenham, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Welcome to the inaugural post of a new feature here at Brave Blue Words: Wonderful Waterful Wednesday. Each Wednesday, I will feature one of the more than 1,200 beautiful and bizarrre creatures cataloged during the recently-completed Census of Marine Life. I’ve written about some of the amazing accomplishments and discoveries of the census here and here.

This week’s star (pun intended), is Pycnopodia helianthoides, the sunflower sea star. This trio was photographed in the frigid shallow waters of Alaska’s Prince Williams Sound, although they are found all along the West Coast. It’s one of the largest sea stars, and all those arms make it one of the fastest, too. Sunflower sea stars feed on their bottom-dwelling cousins (other echinoderms or “prickly-skins”), such as sand dollars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Their mere presence is enough to make those critters scramble for cover.

Some of my best memories of the sea come from the tidepools I’ve explored and the critters I’ve found there, including sea stars, urchins and the like. How about you? Ever hold a squishy sea cucumber? poked a seastar or scratched up your knees with barnacle kisses (ouch!)? Share your seaside experiences in the comments section below.

** LIVE WEBCAST – Clearing the Air: Managing Air Quality to Benefit Heath and Climate in India.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011, 10:30am – noon

http://www.sais-jhu.edu/pressroom/live.html

Dr. Sarath Guttikinda, an air quality expert from Delhi, India; Dr. William Lau, a climate scientist from NASA; and yours truly will discuss the links between air quality and climate in India, and what can be done to improve both. The event is free, open to the public, and will be webcast by Johns Hopkins University.

For more information, click here.

Great resource for writers

A shout-out to writer and awesome social media expert, Kristen Lamb. Her blog and book “We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media” are musts for any serious author – and are damned funny, too!

BONUS: Cool Science Swag Giveaway

For the rest of March, anyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a random drawing for one of the fab calendars that I got at the AAAS conference last month, shown in the photo below. Each comment = an entry, so feel free to check out some older posts and comment on those too.  Forwarding a post from the blog, RTing it on Twitter, or following this blog via Facebook will also get you an entry. One weeks to go – start your entries now!

Cool science calendars
Yes - one of these can be yours - just comment, forward or RT Danielle Meitiv's Brave Blue Words!

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate of Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.

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3 thoughts on “Wonderful Waterful Wednesday

  1. Happy WWW! Are you going to be covering the weird purple starfish you find down the West Coast? We first noticed them visiting my sister-in-law in Bellingham, WA, but since them we’ve seen them in various places along the coast (and the Vancouver aquarium, of course!) I have photos, but none as beautiful as the one at the top of your post. Looking forward to following this series!

  2. Love the idea for this series…and enjoyed this first one! Thanks! My husband and I live far from the coast, but one of the most enjoyable things we did on a recent trip to Central California was make time for tidepooling!

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