Mearns Rock in 2004

Mearns Rock 2004   2004 Enlarged Quadrat

What You See

IIn 2004, the boulder has a heavy covering of young (greenish-brown) Fucus plants. Barnacle density remains high on the right side of the boulder. Again this year, no mussels are visible. In the lower left corner of the boulder, the patch of sea lettuce seems to be dying back. On the beach face, the density of Fucus is similar to that on the boulder. In the background, an eelgrass bed (Zostera marina) is visible in the water.
2004 Enlarged Quadrat

Much of the quadrat is covered by young Fucus plants in 2004. No mussels are visible. The tiny barnacles that set in 2003 have grown, creating a white crust under the Fucus. This year, there is little or no bare rock. Note the new species of seaweed (resembling a spider) in the upper right section.

What's Happening

Conditions in 2004 are very similar to 1996. At that time, we wrote that it appeared that a second "wave" of recovery was occurring. Now it looks like a third wave of regrowth is occurring. During the first years of recovery, there was a heavy growth of mussels; however, that doesn't appear to be the case for the second and third waves of regrowth. We had originally thought that there was a 5-6 year period from new growth to die-off. If that was true, we should have seen a new recruitment of Fucus by 2001. Obviously, the new growth didn't happen for about 8 years (until 2003/2004). Thus, the time between significant recruitment events is many years, but also variable.