Posts Tagged ‘rocky intertidal’

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.


Only two significant challenges on this morning:

  1. The flies


    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.

Eek, a sea mouse!

April 29, 2015

Aeolidia papillosa

Roxi (PC 41) spotted this sea mouse / shaggy mouse nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) while recording data during the transect study at Weir’s Beach on 21 April 2015. One of the coolest things about this nudibranch species is that it feeds on anemones – mostly aggregating anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima) and plumose anemones (Metridium senile). In the photo above there are many aggregating anemones surrounding the sea mouse. A. papillosa is also well-known for storing undischarged stinging cells in their cerata which are likely used for defence of the slug.

Found a peanut (worm)!

April 22, 2015

Stella (PC 41) found a peanut worm (Phascolosoma agassizii) this afternoon while marking limpets in the Director’s intertidal.

Phascolosoma agassizii

Its introvert is visible here as the long structure with brown transverse streaks. Also visible are dog whelk (Nucella ostrina) egg capsules above the peanut worm and several spirorbid tube worms on the surrounding rocks.  Very cool find Stella!

Transect studies 2015

April 22, 2015

Although I have many excursions and activities to report on (I have been quite negligent at blogging in favour of going out in the field and organizing photos lately), I will begin with the transect studies done by first year Marine Science students.


On Friday 17 April, F block students travelled to Race Rocks at 7:30 AM to do their transect study.


They got their noses right into the quadrats to identify and count organisms.


Then they used water levels to move up in the intertidal zone, 50 cm at a time.



They recorded all their data and will analyze it in an upcoming class.17155747946_273bd8385b_z

Weir’s Beach was the site of the other two transect studies for different reasons.  On Monday 20 April, we only had a 70 minute block for Marine Science due to the exciting announcement of the new president and head of Pearson College. It was a beautiful sunny day – perfect for a transect study!





Although filling the water tubes was a little bit challenging (see above).17201316786_cdeaf040e5_z

Tuesday 21 April was a very windy day and we were unable to get to Race Rocks (out of Pedder Bay even!) so instead C block went to Weir’s Beach to collect their data too.


Laying out the transect lines was a significant challenge.


But the students persevered to collect data on the distribution of intertidal organisms.


17201362346_d2e994367f_z 17225593272_bdf07a67b2_z

See Flickr album of Transect studies 2015 for more photos of the three transect studies and a post on the Race Rocks blog for more on the F block transect study.

Eggs, eggs, eggs…

March 25, 2015

DSCN9019During a short excursion to the Director’s intertidal zone on Monday 23 March 2015, D block marine scientists discovered the eggs of several species. Above are the egg masses and adults (including one unusually pale example) of the barnacle-eating sea slug (Onchidoris bilamellata).

DSCN9041 - Version 2

Also some very green fish eggs laid in an intertidal crevice (above).



And some dog whelk (Nucella ostrina) egg capsules.

Thanks to Alana for the photos!

Field Exam 2014 – A block

May 19, 2014

Better late than never, right?  On 16 May 2014, the other class of first year marine scientists (A block) wrote their field exam at Race Rocks.  Here are a few photos of their experience.

Chloe at the PC docks before departing for Race Rocks.


Students working hard:





Measuring the change in the height of the tide over 30 minutes…




Courtney, Ivan & Sophia watching the whale watchers.

Courtney Ivan Sophia


Happy students!!



Buzurg & Awa measuring the dimensions of the Race Rocks jetty.

Buzurg Awa


Elephant seals (?!) on the jetty.

Elephant seals


Exam is over – time to return to the College.




Awa on boat


Riikka on boat



Thanks to Sophia for taking photos!


Field Exam 2014 – D block

May 16, 2014

RR2 It was a stunningly beautiful Thursday morning when eight D block marine scientists travelled to Race Rocks to complete their field exam. Kami Students measured, Hanne2 and measured, Erika Laura Zeena and wrote, Erika Tyleisha and wrote, Killaq and wrote. Hanne A very successful morning for the students and for the island wildlife: Anemone eating A giant green anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) feasting on what appeared to be a sea cucumber. There were also many, many elephant seals: Elephant seal flies Elephant seals Elephant seal2 Elephant seal   Special thanks to Anne Stewart for preparing the students so well: AnneAnne2 and to Elliot (PC 39) for the photos. Elliot

Field exam 2012

May 13, 2012

It was sunny and warm with a just gentle breeze yesterday when first year marine scientists went to Race Rocks to complete their last challenge of the year – the field exam!

Students battled the flies…

the elephant seals…

and the goslings!

They managed to collect data and answer exam questions about tide height…

…tidepool temperature and salinity…


and other cool stuff.

It was a very successful afternoon at Race Rocks!

Biodiversity and diverse footwear

May 2, 2012

This morning first year marine scientists ventured out to collect data that they used to compare the biodiversity of two areas that they selected.

Ela (in the yellow boots above) compared the diversity of organisms in two areas of the rocky intertidal – one that is regularly exposed to freshwater from a drain pipe and one that is not near the drain pipe outlet (in the very upper left of the photo above).

Angela and Jessica (both close to the water level in the photo above) each investigated the effect of height in the intertidal on diversity.

Angela (above) again identifying and counting organisms in the low intertidal.

Miguel (blue fins) and Mariana (yellow fins) chose to focus only on sea star diversity.  They got into their wetsuits at 7 am! and jumped into the water to compare the diversity of sea stars near the Pearson College docks and a short distance away from the docks.

Jon elected to sample plankton at the mouth of Pedder Bay and near the Pearson College docks. While there is no photographic evidence of his work he learned that there is a great deal of diversity in the plankton sampled at both locations!