I revisited Botanical Beach on the weekend, in what I hope becomes an annual trip for me – it’s one of my favourite places in the world. I found it strange that I and my companion were the only ones on the beach on early Saturday morning; I thought the attraction of seeing a zero tide, one of the lowest tides of the year here, would lure more people. More people did visit eventually, but it was perhaps an hour after the zero tide mark before we saw the first few, with numbers gradually increasing after that.
Pelvetiopsis limitata is distributed along the west coast of North America, from northern Vancouver Island to the mid-California coast in San Luis Obispo County. One curious morphological variation that occurs from north to south is an increase in the density of surficial hairs, such that the individuals in California are covered in fine hairs. Jennifer Skene of UC Berkeley is researching the origin, formation and function of these hairs, and whether they might have an impact upon buffering the effects of climate change.
Decew’s Guide at the Center for Phycological Documentation contains a guide page about Pelvetiopsis limitata, including journal references associated with each of the facts (very handy). The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network has more photographs of this species in its factsheet on Pelvetiopsis limitata.