Sea lion necropsy at Weir’s Beach

February 1, 2017 by

After learning from Ivonne yesterday that there was a dead sea lion at Weir’s Beach and after getting permission from DFO, first and second year Biology students participated in a necropsy of a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) this morning.

belly-of-sea-lion

Above is how we found it initially yesterday (31 January 2017) – apparently the sea lion washed up on Weir’s Beach, headless, on 20 January.

We began the necropsy by opening up the abdominal cavity.

We excised the liver, stomach and small intestine.

Several students worked on stretching out the small intestine then they measured it to be 51.7 m long!

We then moved into the thoracic cavity, after cutting through the blubber and thick, dark red pectoral muscles.

The heart, right lung and and trachea were removed and examined by students.

We were blasted by sand and a bitterly cold wind throughout, but students remained engaged & interested. An amazing opportunity!

The photo below is my favourite – Emily is holding the mesentery in the wind.

mesentarySee Flickr page for many more photos.

Investigating the properties of seawater 2017

January 29, 2017 by

Once again, first year marine scientists carried out individual investigations into the properties of seawater.

Many students did lab-based investigations:

And a few went out into the field… Yeji measured the variation in salinity with location in Pedder Bay by kayaking (she got a bit wet and had her pants dried by Hazuki, who investigated the effect of wind speed on water movement). And Quni was prepared for the wet weather but as you can see below, returned to the lab in the sunshine!

Free glaciology and marine programs for girls seek applications

January 26, 2017 by

International Arctic Research Center

Inspiring Girls Expeditions is accepting applications through January 31, 2017 for free summer science and wilderness expeditions in Alaska and Washington for girls ages 16 to 17.

Three teams of up to nine teenage girls and three instructors will spend 12 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers or fjords with tidewater glaciers. They’ll conduct scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, oceanographers, artists and mountaineers.

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Pedder Bay sunrise – 13 January 2017

January 13, 2017 by

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Thanks to Abbie for the photos!

Cold water, big tides

January 12, 2017 by

After a very cold night, there was a layer of ice on Pedder Bay again this morning which allowed for some interesting observations and data collection by marine scientists.

ice-fragments

Data below were collected by second year Marine Science students at two different times of the morning.

8:05 am 11:00 am
Depth (m) Temp (oC) Salinity (ppt) Temp (oC) Salinity (ppt)
0 3.7 28.4 4.6 25.9
0.5 5.8 29.3 5.8 30.1
1.0 6.4 30.3 6.7 30.6
2.0 6.7 30.6 6.7 30.7
3.0 6.7 30.7 6.8 30.8
4.0 6.8 30.7 6.9 30.8
5.0 6.8 30.7 6.9 30.8

One major conclusion can be drawn:

The water is COLD (right down to 5 m where we usually measure temperatures around 10oC). It is so cold that students’ tongues are turning blue:

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Wait a minute… the cold is not the reason for the blue tongues in these Biology students!

We are also experiencing big tides these days (2.8 m tidal range). High tides in the early afternoon:

Then low tides at night:

low-tide

Emilio, Heather & Millie at low tide (20:15 11 Jan 2017)

Interesting times!

PC connections with ONC

January 11, 2017 by

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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.

Pedder Bay pancakes

January 4, 2017 by

Pancake ICE, that is!

Defined in a sea ice glossary as “Predominantly circular pieces of ice from 30 centimeters to 3 meters in diameter, and up to about 10 centimeters in thickness with raised rims due to pieces striking against one another. It may be formed on a slight swell from grease ice, shuga, or slush or as a result of the breaking of ice rind, nilas, or under severe conditions of swell or waves, of gray ice.”

Pancake ice is not common in Pedder Bay, but due to many days of cold air temperatures, it is abundant around the Pearson College dock and around the Pedder Bay Marina.

I did a quick measurement of surface salinity (ppt) and seawater temperature (oC):

temp-sal-at-surface

Yikes!! The poor mergansers, their feet must be very cold!

And now a stunning sunset – 6 Dec 2016

December 6, 2016 by

31325875122_91139227ed_o.jpgSee Flickr site for more photos of this stunningly beautiful day!

Snow and Sunrise – 6 December 2016

December 6, 2016 by

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After a snowfall last night, a stunning sunrise this morning.

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First year Marine Science students also measured seawater temperature and salinity at 9:40 am while the air temperature was 4.2oC.

Depth (m) Temp (oC) Salinity (ppt)
0.0 7.1 18.0
0.5 9.7 29.7
1.0 9.8 30.0
2.0 9.8 30.0

Brrr….

Dock diving

November 30, 2016 by

While it may not be their preferred dive site, second year divers immersed themselves in the seawater of Pedder Bay and went diving around the Pearson College dock on Friday 18 November and again on Monday 28 November. Below are Marie-Claude, Aurora and Maya, pretty happy after a decent dive.

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Divers did a good service by collecting debris that has been accumulating under the dock for many years (see the previous generation of caf dishes!). Below are photos from 18 November and 28 November.

We released a crab from the plastic bottle (above, middle right of photo on left).  Ian collected two crabs (Cancer productus and Cancer gracilis) seen below in the photo on the left.