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Intertidal Photographs

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Photographs taken from an altitude of 75 feet, -2.0 tide at 6:30, time taken between 0730 -0840 on May 23, 1955

May 2, 1955

Captain C. V. Fielder
Commanding Officer
U. S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station
Monterey, California

Dear Sir:

Some weeks ago your photographer took a series of low level vertical aerial photographs from a helicopter of a section of the rocky shoreline at Mussel Point, Pacific Grove, Calif.   This particular area is undergoing intensive survey in connection with studies in marine ecology being conducted at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University.

The photographs are being used to provide basis for detailed charts on which the distribution of shore organisms are plotted. We expect shortly to complete  the construction and installation of electronic recording gear which will provide automatic and continuous records of such marine physical factors  as wave frequency and wave impact force, tidal level, water temperature, and water exchange over given points. We expect to gather data  that will enable us to corelate variations in the distribution of marine shore organisms in the area with variations in the physical conditions listed above.  If a good relationship exists, it may be possible in the future to use the shoreline organisms present in this area as indicators of the severity of marine physical conditions at a given point.

The photographs very kindly provided through your command were excellent, and your helicopter pilot, Lt. J. J. Culota and photographer Harold Briggs are to be highly commended for their skillful work.  The pictures have been exceedingly useful in our researches, and have made possible a more accurate and detailed coverage of the area than we had expected. In fact, we now see, through the use of such aerial photographs, the possibility of expanding the present project to cover a larger aerial of the point. Such an expansion would greatly increase the value of the project under way, and I am writing to inquire about the possibility of a second series  of low level vertical aerial photographs of the remainder of the shoreline  of Mussell Point.

The area to be covered would be the area along the shore of the Pointy which is covered at high tide but exposed at low tide. This section of the shoreline is about 600 yards in length, extending from the small sand beach on the SE shore of the Point to the small sandy beach and cove at the NW base of the Point.  The width of  the intertidal region  along this 600 yards of rocky coast varies from about 20 yards to about 125 yards. To be the greatest use to use the pictures would need to be taken in an overlapping grid from as low an altitude as is commensurate with full safety of the helicopter and its crew.  The number of exposures needed would naturally vary with the height of the aircraft and he camera lens used. As a very rough guess I would estimate that this coverage might take between 100 and 200 negatives.

To be useful to us in this particular research program,  the pictures would also need to be taken during a period of extreme low tides. Periods in the near future which would be most suitable, for example, would be the following (unfortunately, the low tides this season are all in the early morning.

Monday, May 23, 1955 – 0700-0830
Tuesday, May 24, 1955 – 0700-0930
Wednesday, May 25, 1955 – 0730-0930

Tuesday, June 21, 1955 – 0700 –0830
Wednesday, June 22, 1955 – 0700-0900

Again, at a very tough estimate, coverage of the point might be made in two to four hours, during one low tide period, or on two consecutive days during the lowest ebb of the tide.

We are already indebted to you for your  substantial aid in out marine researchers so far. If you would be willing to extend further help of the same nature, we would find it of great value to our program of scientific investigation  This help, of course, would be fully acknowledged in our research publications.

Yours very truly

(Dr.) Donald P. Abbott
Ass’t Professor of Biology
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University

J12 Serial:641
11May 1955
Dr. Donald P. Abbott
Ass’t Professor of Biology
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University
Hopkins Marine Station
Pacific Grove, California

Dear Dr. Abbott;

Thank you for your letter on 2 May requesting additional low level vertical aerial photographic coverage of the Mussel Point shoreline.

In the interest of assisting your marine hydrographic research program, the aerial photographic facilities as outlined in your letter will be made available.
It is suggested that you contact Lieutenant Jack H. McDonald to arrange further details.

Very Sincerely,

Commander, U. S. Navy
Acting Commanding Officer

18 May 1955

Commander R. Stanek
U. S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station
Monterey, California

Dear Commander Stanek:

Thank you very much for your letter of 11 May 1955. Making available your aerial photographic facilities for low level vertical coverage of the mussel point shoreline.

Your willingness to help out in our marine research program here is very much appreciated by all of us, and the use of the facilities will  certainly be of material assistance in the work.  We will be sure to acknowledge this assistance properly when our results are published.

Cordially yours,
Donald P. Abbott
Ass’t Prof. of Biology

Photographs taken from an altitude of 75 feet, -2.0 tide at 6:30, time taken between 0730 -0840 on May 23, 1955