Colorful zooplankton wash up on Edmonds beach

A rare occurance, biologist says
By Brian Soergel | Apr 20, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel

If you’ve walked along Olympic Beach today (April 20) – from the fishing pier to the ferry dock – you no doubt saw a large swath of distinctly colored …. something.

In fact, according to Edmonds Parks and Rec’s Jennifer Leach, it’s a mass stranding event of trillions of zooplankton, which are larval crabs called zoea.

They washed up alive on the high tide Wednesday morning, and the city has collected samples.

A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish biologist, Don Rothaus, will take the sample back to a lab.

Leach said the landing is a normal, although rare, occurrence.

"This is just a case where freshly molted zoea larvae somehow were rafted into a large mass and windrowed up on the receding high tide," Rothaus said.

Go take a look. You’ll notice a smell, too, which is not too unpleasant.

The city had posted educational signs on the beach about the event (see accompanying graphic).


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