Archive for May, 2017

Northern elephant seals at Race Rocks

May 15, 2017

During the first year field exam at Race Rocks on Friday 12 May (post to follow…), there were 11 northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) that provided both entertainment and answers to the students writing the exam.

One of the questions on the field exam involved observing elephant seals and the seals seemed happy to oblige.

Over the course of the morning, many of the elephant seals made their way to the water.

Once in the water, one elephant seal was frolicking in the bull kelp and blowing bubbles.

In the water

Some students even tried behaving like elephant seals:

Elephant seals

Spectacular Swordfish Island

May 3, 2017

D block marine scientists were very fortunate to get to Swordfish Island yesterday to do a tidepool study. In addition to measuring the dimensions of two tidepools, they compared temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen of high and low tidepools. Students also made species lists for both of the tidepools they were examining.

We did expand our exploration beyond tidepools because this is such a stunning place. Here are a few of the spectacular marine species:

And two terrestrial species:

So beautiful!

Biodiversity by snorkel

May 2, 2017

Every year I issue a challenge to marine scientists to compare the biodiversity of two habitats. I suggest high & low in the intertidal, horizontal & vertical in the rocky intertidal, plankton tows in two locations or two areas on the dock. I always offer the option of snorkelling and a few students, like 3 or 4, usually take me up on it.

This year there were more takers for the snorkelling option than ever – 7 students in the first class and 6 in the second class.


A few students even snorkelled across Pedder Bay to compare the two different sides of the bay (see photo above).

And not all students snorkelled, below are Tomma in the intertidal and Karel sampling plankton at the green buoy. While Karel and I were in Hyaku, we watched a submarine make its way to the navy dock.

For more photos see Flickr album Biodiversity 2017.

And for a reminder of last year’s sampling see Biodiversity in Pedder Bay.