Archive for April, 2013

IB exam 2013

April 30, 2013

IB MS 2013

IB MS 2013 line up

Year 38 Marine Science students are currently all in the dining hall, writing paper 2 of their IB exam.  They were confident before and happy after completing paper 1 and I suspect they will also be quite happy when it is all over and we are celebrating with ice cream!

Great job Karam, Helen, Ben, Christopher, Jon, Mohamed, Eliott, Suizhi; Jessica, Ariana, Vuochly, Gabbie, Sammy, Ela, Laas, Théa, Lucas, Susanna; Angela, Amanda, Felicia, José, Mariana, Miguel, Rikka, Sergio!!

Ocean Science Symposium 2013

April 28, 2013

Miguel, Suizhi and I attended the 2nd annual Ocean Science Symposium at the University of Victoria on Friday & Saturday 26 and 27 April.


We had the chance to learn alongside and interact with students and educators from around southern Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands and to learn from undergraduate and graduate students from UVic. We also heard an inspiring plenary talk on Friday morning by Dr. Kate Moran, president & CEO of Ocean Networks Canada.

There were many hands on activities as part of workshops in six different disciplines of marine science (engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, geography and geology).

Suizhi flow tank

Miguel touch table

Miguel touch table2

A great experience overall and I have to say that I was very proud of Suizhi and Miguel – they added many valuable contributions and asked very perceptive questions.

Witty’s Beach with A block

April 25, 2013

Witty's Beach with A block

On Tuesday 9 April, second year Marine Science students travelled to Witty’s Beach as an example of a sandy beach ecosystem. We did a beach seine in which we found young flatfish (still mostly transparent), staghorn sculpins and crangonid shrimp.

Four-armed blood star

April 22, 2013

Henricia tidepool

Henricia aboral

Henricia oral

With no evidence of a fifth arm.

Observed on 17 April 2013 at Race Rocks – East side of Great Race Rock.

Race Rocks exploration – 11 April 2013

April 21, 2013

Both first year classes of Marine Science students visited Race Rocks on Thursday 11 April in order to measure abiotic factors in the rocky intertidal zone and to compile a species list.  B block students braved the elements in the morning and although I didn’t take any photos of them on the island, they were great explorers and we all survived despite the very windy weather…

Keira Emilio Mikelle Taran PCAmalia asleep

D block students were very fortunate in two ways – the sun was shining on them and they were accompanied by Garry Fletcher, Educational Director of Race Rocks.

Garry & DavisGarry & Marc Garry & followersGarry tidepool


Abiotic factors such as water temperature and salinity were recorded…TS meterNotetakersElliot & EmilySophia green pool

And a few species observed & recorded…

Elephant sealsElephant sealRocky intertidalP1010218

Then it was back to Pearson College again…

Students & towerSteph & Johan

Thanks to Laila for the D block photos!

Goldstream estuary – April 2013

April 14, 2013

Estuary 1

On Wednesday 10 April (F block) and on Friday 12 April (A block), second year Marine Science students visited the Goldstream estuary.  Closed to the public since 1994, the estuary is an incredible place to explore.

Group w Tracy

Estuary 3

Estuary 2

There are many Canada geese in the estuary these days and they do a great job of mowing down the vegetation.

Goldstream river

Although we didn’t see any living salmon, the juveniles should have been in the Goldstream River (pictured above) and we saw lots of evidence of adult salmon:

Salmon jaws

Tracy & jaws

On both days we were accompanied by a naturalist from the Park – Tracy is holding the salmon jaws and vertebra in the photo above and Bree is pictured below.

Bree & jaws

F class

On Wednesday there was sunshine and blue sky – students were invited to take off their boots and walk barefoot through the mud.  Chris and Susanna accepted enthusiastically.

Chris & Bree Since Chris probably would have lost at least one boot in the mud any way it made good sense for him to remove his boots.

Chris & Eliott Eliott has lost his flip-flops since our trip to East Sooke Park, so he came in boots but decided to keep them on!

Chris & boots

Chris in boots Chris managed to leave the estuary with both boots!!

Susanna 2 Susanna also walked barefoot through the mud and sincerely enjoyed it!

Susanna's feet

Susanna washing And then she cleaned her feet in the river.

Jumping Karam We had to jump across a channel in the estuary – Karam does it with panache above.

Jumping Thea And Thea too!

Jumping Jon Jon, however, looks like he is going to fall backwards on his bum – he didn’t though!

Two last images to include from our trip to Goldstream – salmonberry blossoms:


And skunk cabbage: Skunk cabbage

Float plane in Pedder Bay!

April 14, 2013

Float plane1


A fairly unusual occurrence on Friday 12 April…

James & Gerold Float plane


And despite running down the dock, both James and Gerold missed the flight!

Where are they now? – Damien Guihen

April 7, 2013

Although this is a bit of cheat since he wasn’t in Marine Science (only because there was no ‘Marine Science’ in his time at Pearson College), Damien Guihen (PC 27, Ireland) was a student of Biology and Physics, and Diving, and Race Rocks.

Damien 2002

He is a marine scientist to his core though!!

After leaving Pearson College Damien completed a PhD in Physical Oceanography at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  He investigated abiotic factors including flow dynamics at a cold-water coral reef ecosystem off the coast of Norway.

Following his PhD, he accepted a postdoctoral position at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) where he is currently part of the GENTOO Project. While Gentoo penguins are residents of the Antarctic, the GENTOO Project, which stands for ‘Gliders: Excellent New Tools for Observing the Ocean’, is exploring the possibility of using underwater robots to monitor living resources of the Antarctic, including krill, which is where Damien comes in…

BAS Damien

Second year Marine Science students were very fortunate to have Damien speak to them via Skype on Monday 18 March (A block) and on Tuesday 19 March (F block).

Glider & Damien

Damien explained to us how he uses the glider pictured above (and below) to map krill populations in the Antarctic using sound signals.

Glider hanging

Glider in water

Glider guts

Damien also explained how the gliders are controlled and how their buoyancy is regulated using the diagram above.  Very, very cool technology!

Many thanks to Damien Guihen for sharing his knowledge about the Antarctic, gliders & krill and more generally for his wonderfully warm enthusiasm!

P.S.  If you look very carefully in the Skyped images of Damien you will see one of his colleagues just behind his shoulder – one of his chinstrap colleagues!

P.P.S. For more details on his work (from Damien himself) see his guest post on the Seabed Habitats blog.