Archive for the ‘Field trips’ Category

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.

33582670203_57c275fae4_o

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.

PC connections with ONC

January 11, 2017

31585342461_876cb43d06_k.jpg

Pearson College (PC) students have had the opportunity to connect with Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) in a few ways lately. During block week (12-15 December 2016), second year Marine Science students travelled to the headquarters of ONC at the University of Victoria. Thanks to Natasha, Jessica and Mercedes for all that you taught us. In the photo above, PC students are using aluminum foil to create boats in a competition to hold the most ‘fish’ (actually marbles, metal washers and foam bits) in water of different densities.

Yesterday, 10 January 2017, Dwight Owens from ONC (and father of PC 41 Tessa Owens!) came to PC to present ‘Hot, Sour and Breathless: Oceans under stress’ to first year marine scientists. It was a wonderful review and preview – thank you Dwight!

And one final connection with ONC that I must mention, Dave Riddell spent almost two hours with me on 23 November 2016 guiding me through Oceans 2.0 which allowed me to assign a data analysis task to first year students. Thank you Dave!!

We are very lucky to be so close to such an incredible organization staffed by wonderful educators and scientists and doing leading edge marine science.

Orcas!!

September 29, 2016

This morning my plan for second year marine scientists was to go to Race Rocks to look at marine mammals (sea lions & seals) and birds. My plan went out the window, however, when Kyle spotted orcas as we were underway. We were totally distracted by these magical creatures. We didn’t made it to Race Rocks but we had a wonderful and transformative adventure.

We saw two females with a calf and two bulls. Although I don’t have any good photos of the whales, I did get many photos of the backs of students’ heads!

Sea lions, seals and orcas, oh my!

September 28, 2016

First year marine scientists had a wonderful experience at Race Rocks on Friday 23 September. We went to explore this amazing ecosystem and to observe marine mammals and birds.

house-and-tower

We brought Felix Butschek (yr 36, Austria) along:

felix-photographing

More details to follow on his visit later…

We did see (and hear and smell!) many, many sea lions:

We were also lucky to observe five Northern elephant seals:

As an added bonus one group of students also saw orcas:

For more photos see Flickr album here. And for Anne’s summary of the day and some better orca photos, see the Race Rocks blog.

Digging into the mudflats

September 19, 2016

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings last week, second year Marine Science students travelled across Pedder Bay to explore a nearby mudflat.

29701521775_e6f9198c68_k29642529866_388f6b4dd8_k

While it is a challenging ecosystem to navigate around, marine scientists did very well –  not a single student was left behind, nor a single gumboot!

Students learned that mudflats smell like rotten eggs due to hydrogen sulfide produced by anaerobic bacteria in the mud.

29642544626_87d8794c3c_k

Sadly, there is not a lot of oxygen in the mud…

29642546326_9201d29f37_k

…but happily, there are several organisms that are well adapted to low oxygen and high hydrogen sulfide.

On Thursday we were fortunate enough to use the yellow voyageur canoe to travel across the bay.

The mudflat field trip is always one of the messiest in Marine Science, but also one that is great fun! (Right, Stefan?!)

See Flickr album for more photos of the mudflats.

Field exam 2016

May 10, 2016

On Monday 9 May, 26 Marine Science students travelled to Race Rocks on Hyaku or the Discovery Shuttle (chartered from Ocean River Sports since ‘Second Nature’ is still in the shop) to write their first year field exam.

Upon arriving at Race Rocks, students received their exam papers and instructions to travel to six stations around the island of Great Race Rock.

26664708850_c62ae4ef0c_k.jpg

Only two significant challenges on this morning:

  1. The flies

    26904439856_cce7c12906_k

    Ilana and flies

  2. Being charged by an elephant seal while collecting data

    Elephant seal.jpg

    Ploypailin, Lauren, Xue Meng and Jill were all frightened from collecting data on the jetty by an elephant seal making its way to the water

All in all though a very successful morning. Thanks to Johannah, Malou and Steph for photos and invigilation! – see this link for more wonderful photos.  Thanks to Chris, Reuben (from Ocean River Sports) and Guy for transport to and from Race Rocks. And thanks to Riley and the elephant seals for their hospitality – see this link for Riley’s post on the Race Rocks log about the Marine Science field exam.

Biodiversity in Pedder Bay

May 3, 2016

Kate and Jill

The challenge presented to first years for their last class of the year was to compare the biodiversity of two different habitats. Some students, like Kate and Jill above and Jacqueline and Aurora below, chose to snorkel to do the sampling.

Others sampled in the intertidal zone – see Ilana and Sho below.

Ochuko and Axel compared the diversity of the two seawater tables that we have – one inside the floating lab and the other on the dock. (That’s Ochuko in the paw print onesie in the photo below.)

Ochuko and Axel

Lauren chose to investigate the substrates hanging off the dock.

LaurenSyver substrate.jpg

Above is a photo of the same substrate when Syver suspended it off the dock in September 2012, when the biodiversity was zero!

I’m not sure what kind of biodiversity Sho found under the ramp!? And that is Kate in the water in the photo above.

For more photos see Flickr album Biodiversity 2016.

Last class for year 41 Marine Science

April 27, 2016

A blockEven though we weren’t able to get to Race Rocks for our last class because Second Nature is in the shop being repaired, year 41 marine scientists had a wonderful end to their two year experience.

C block

G block

With each class, we did an excursion to the Navy buoy then to the Pedder Bay marina for ice cream.

Ice cream

See more photos of our last day.

Wonderful Witty’s

April 21, 2016

Michael with data

Last week as their penultimate field trip, second year Marine Science students explored Witty’s Lagoon as an example of an estuary. We measured water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen at six locations along the estuary. The photo above shows Michael reading out the data that he and Michał collected (seen in the photo below) on Wednesday 13 April.

Measuring

Noemi Kevin

Noëmi and Kevin collected similar data from the same location (‘Log lake’) on the previous day (Tuesday 12 April 2016).

In the photo below, Tamara & Laura collect data from the ‘ocean’ site.

Measuring ocean

Data for all three days shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.08.40 PM

Skunk cabbage

The site that we named ‘Skunk cabbage creek’ was very near this beautiful plant.

We also explored the salt marsh and some of its inhabitants – for several students the plants were cool the spiders were not!On the salt marsh

We also found some wonderful invertebrates, both in the estuary and on the sandy beach.

Kohtaro Mary