Archive for September, 2015

What a day for mammals!

September 30, 2015

During a second year Marine Science class discussion of human impacts on the mudflats, a student shouted “there’s a bear!”Bears3 Bears

So much for the mudflats… all the students rushed down on to the dock to watch the TWO bears run towards the spiritual centre.

Later in the day, a first year class was welcomed ashore at Great Race Island by the usual suspects, California sea lions, Stellar sea lions and a Northern elephant seal.Pinnipeds

The two highlights of the trip to Race Rocks for me (and the students) though were the humpback whale that was feeding just west of reserve and the sea otter that was frolicking in the kelp on the east side of the island. I took a few terrible photos (worse than the bear photos above), but please see Anne’s photos on the Race Rocks blog (humpback fluke and sea otter).

Kate watching humpback

Connection with ONC Wiring the Abyss expedition 2015

September 24, 2015

B block ONC

On Monday 14 September, first year marine scientists in B block were fortunate to be able to make contact with Dave Riddell of Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) while he was aboard the R/V Thompson. Dave was part of the recent ‘Wiring the Abyss 2015’ expedition and did a wonderful job explaining what ONC does and what the expedition was all about.


The photo above shows JASON, the ROV that was used during the expedition as well as small images of Dave Riddell and students in the floating lab (lower right corner).

Thanks Dave!!

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup 2015

September 24, 2015

It was a small but dedicated group of Pearson College folks who joined the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup at Esquimalt Lagoon on the morning of Sunday 13 September (the same day as Metchosin Day!).GCSC A


Thanks Catriona, Maya, Karena (for beach cleaning & driving), Simon, Devin & family!

Science you can really sink your boots into

September 11, 2015

Boots in mud

Three second year classes visited the mudflats this week – early morning excursions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.



G block Catherine digging

Laura and Connor

Sowmya and Jyoti

Simon mudflats

And now for a few creatures from the mudflats:

Blood worms

Blood or bamboo worms (Capitella capitata)Droopy anemones

Droopy anemones (Metridium senile)


A mysterious mudflat creature (above) and many more (below).

C block

A wonderful Wednesday on the water

September 9, 2015


A hungry heron met me on the dock at 6:30 am today. As I was preparing for a trip to the mudflats, the heron captured and ate a herring then flew away. Second year students from A block trickled down to the dock, got suited up and loaded in to the voyageur canoe.


We paddled across Pedder Bay and arrived at a unique and challenging ecosystem.


We dug around in the mud collected a few organisms (clams, worms and crabs – we’ll make a more detailed species list in class…), then headed back to the College almost in time for 8 am classes!




My 8 am class was a group of first year marine scientists (B block, see below) who were a great help at taking the voyageur canoe out of the water and cleaning the mud off of it – thank you!

We then went to the Director’s intertidal to do some explorations of a rocky intertidal zone.


Then I spent the afternoon with another first year class of marine scientists on the Pearson College dock and examining some of the mudflat critters found this morning.



leila-and-heart-cockle stefan-holding-c-gracilis maya-and-cancer-gracilis

What a wonderful Wednesday!!

Heron eating herring

September 8, 2015

Heron eats herring

Although the resolution of the photo is not great, the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) does have herring (Clupea pallasii) in its bill. First year marine scientists watched the heron spear, adjust and swallow the little fish on their first class visit to the Pearson College dock.

First day of Marine Science 2015

September 7, 2015

Pedder Bay 7 Sept 15Today was the first day of classes for the 2015/2016 academic year!

And even the deer were scrambling to get to class…