Posts Tagged ‘mudflats’

Mudflat Monday for Marine Science students

September 24, 2018

Heading into the mudflats

Today was one of the days that I look forward to every year – Mudflat Monday! Two of the three classes braved the challenging ecosystem that is the mudflats today (the third class went last Thursday, so actually they were the first class!).


Slogging through the mudflats

We found clams, worms and crabs…

We really got our gumboots and hands dirty today! This truly is science you can sink your boots into!


Juan Daniel’s boots


Lara’s interpretive dance?

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.


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.


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


…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.

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!!

Mudflat mayhem

September 11, 2014

Yam in mud

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this week, second year Marine Science students paddled across Pedder Bay to get to the mudflats. In fact for E block students this was their first class back after the break – a serious re-immersion back into the course!

We did a lot of digging…

Camille digging E in the mud E diggers Chloe digging

And discovered some cool creatures…

Yam diggingNereid

including a dead Harbour Seal.

Harbour seal

And only one major mudflat mishap.

Kami contemplating

Two wonderful mornings overall!

Moon over PB



Mud, marvelous mud

September 17, 2013

Syver digging

Second year Marine Science students made the annual trek to the mudflats located just across from the College in Pedder Bay this morning and yesterday morning at 6:45 am.  I am somewhat disappointed to report that not a single student got stuck this year.


Taran was almost stuck, but managed to free herself too easily – no need for rescuing!


Sophia got a little bit of mud on her special suit…

Sophia & Syver

…but it rinsed off easily.

Group photos of each class are below – see how happy everyone is?!

E block C block

Intertidalling deer

May 5, 2013

Intertidal deer2

Ela spotted these black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) walking in the intertidal mudflats near our Maintenance dock on Wednesday 1 May. She said that while they did have some difficulty traveling across the mud, they were much more at ease than small-footed humans seem to be.

Intertidal deer1

Thanks for the photos Ela!

More mud

September 19, 2012

In case you weren’t able to identify the one student that we almost lost in the mudflats, here he is getting stuck deeper and deeper in the mud…

And here is Chris unstuck (and bootless!)…

Below are a few images from a light microscope (100x magnification) of mud samples taken at the surface of the mudflat:

Note the benthic diatoms – a few were still alive and would have been living on the surface of the mudflat, but most are just the empty frustules (glass cases).

And samples from about 25 cm deep in the mudflat:

Similar sized particles but no diatoms to be seen in the deep samples.


All marine science students survive the mudflats…barely!

September 12, 2012

On Tuesday morning at 6:15 am, A block marine scientists canoed from the dock across the bay to a lovely little spot – the mudflats!  All students survived that trip, although, as always, there was one who was almost lost.

Laas (above right, in the orange shirt and muddy hands!) almost lost her shoes in the mud and ended up walking barefoot.

Ben (above in polka dot boots) did very well to stay on the surface of the mud, despite being very tall.

Rikka & Angela learned that standing on a solid old dock prevents sinking into the mud.

This morning, Wednesday, at 6:15 am another group of intrepid marine scientists headed to that same location across the bay.

One student was almost lost to the mud (can you guess which one?) and one boot was left behind about 1 m deep in the mud.

We almost forgot to bring back a bucket full of organisms (clams, worms & crabs)…

But Sammy & Mariana volunteered to retrieve it…

In the process a second gumboot was almost lost (see Mariana’s left foot)…

But it all worked out in the end!

Great adventure all in all, even though a few in the mud did fall.  Students learned about the mudflats distinctive smell, and some would call it a living hell.