Editor’s note: For three nights beginning August 31st, Conservation International’s Dr. M. Sanjayan will be co-hosting “Big Blue Live,” a live television event documenting the natural splendor of California’s Monterey Bay. Tune in at 8 p.m. EST/PST on PBS to see what he discovers — and in the meantime, learn why this unique place is an important piece in humanity’s understanding of the natural world.
Sea otters off the coast of California. Each September, coastal upwelling of nutrient-rich waters and migration patterns of species like whales, dolphins, sardines and seabirds result in an explosion of life in Monterey Bay; starting on August 31st, Dr. M. Sanjayan will be co-hosting “Big Blue Live,” a three-night live television event chronicling this phenomenon. (© Adam White)
Gaze into a tide pool and you’ll see all of life’s complexity, shrunken down to size. From the soft anemones waving sticky tentacles, to spiny sea urchins, to hard-shelled mussels, with crabs and gobies wedged in between, every square inch is occupied by something — pushing, scrambling and fighting for access to sunlight, or nutrients, or a mate.
In Monterey, California, tide pools might seem to pale in comparison with the town’s famous sea otters, kelp forests and breaching whales, but for one unlikely duo (an amateur biologist and a future Nobel Prize-winning American novelist) in the 1930s, these pools inspired a new way of looking at the natural world — one that shapes our modern understanding of ecology. Continue reading