If you live in a coastal city, there is likely a vibrant marine ecosystem just beyond the shoreline you see downtown. We so rarely get to peer into these ecosystems and so it’s easy to forget (or not even know) that they exist. Maybe this will help with that – this is an underwater video taken by my dive buddy, Ed Gullekson. We shot the video at a dive site in Seattle called Alki Pipeline. The site consists of a large pipe that is covered in boulders, or “riprap”, to prevent erosion. The boulders have provided rocky habitat for a wide variety of organisms, including giant Metridium anemones, a diversity of red macroalgae species, rockfish, and much more:
Subtidal riprap habitats are the main focus of my research. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding how ecological processes on riprap work and how the organisms growing on riprap affect surrounding soft sediment environments in cities.
This video was taken while swimming along a fixed bearing over the riprap installation at Alki Pipeline. Originally, we were planning to use it as a means for documenting fish abundance and diversity, which we may still do. But we realized it might also just be of interest for folks who want to see what it’s like down there.