Posts Tagged ‘year 41’

IB exam 2016

April 30, 2016

Thirty-six Year 41 Marine Science students (the biggest cohort ever!) wrote their IB examination yesterday. The first IB exam of the season may be over, but I am confident that marine science will always be in the hearts of these students!

Warm wishes for much future success to all of you! And please do keep in touch.

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!!

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.

Investigating the properties of seawater

December 12, 2014

P1040030Today all three classes of first year marine scientists investigated various properties of seawater. Each student had a research question and hypothesis, designed a method to test their hypothesis then carried out their investigation in class.  In the photo above, Young is investigating the effect of salinity on conductivity and in the photo below Romanos is setting up his experiment to measure the effect of salinity on sea ice melting time.

P1040031P1040039Above, Alana is measuring the effect of bubbling carbon dioxide into the water on the dissolved oxygen in seawater and below, Malou is setting up her experiment which involved increasing salinity with ‘Instant Ocean’.

P1040034P1040041Noemi modified the salinity of seawater samples to mimic the salinities of different seas and measure the effect on boiling point.


P1040049Adva, in the photo above, tested the effect of bubbling oxygen gas into seawater on the pH and Sofiya, in the photo below, tested the effect of humidity on dissolved oxygen.

P1040048 P1040047Connor, in the photo above, added drops of solutions with different salinities to the surface of a coin to see if there was an effect of salinity on cohesion / surface tension.

P1040036David Hawley came down to the floating lab and checked out a few of the experiments as part of his last tour of classes as the director of Pearson College. He is on his way to the IBO in the Netherlands very soon.  We will certainly miss his visits to Marine Science classes, but David, please know that you are absolutely welcome to come back any time!





A very high tide

December 10, 2014

Michal2With all the rain, the low atmospheric pressure and the spring tides we are seeing evidence of very high high tides – a king tide. Michal was able to touch the top of the piling.

On that piling is a tide gauge that was set up by a four students for their Group 4 project. Although it is not ‘calibrated’, I suspect they did not see such a high during their sampling.

Tide guage


Check out the height of the water under the ramp to the lower floor of the floating building:


And the angle of the ramp to the upper floor:

RampFor comparison, I’ll post additional photos of extremely low tides when they occur.

Oceanographic expeditions 2014

December 4, 2014


The three first year marine Science classes endeavoured to describe and explain the pattern of temperature and salinity in Pedder Bay on Monday 24 November (C block) and Tuesday 25 November (D and F blocks).

Wet wet wet

Many abiotic factors were measured…

TS measuring Sofiya

TS measuring

including, of course, temperature and salinity…

Air temp Dom

Air temp Alashua

…air temperature and relative humidity…


…Secchi depth…

Wind Ruli

…and wind speed.

Messenger prep

F block students also sampled at 30 m using a Niskin bottle and messenger.

Data record Sowmya Data record Mary

Data were recorded and subsequently analysed back on solid ground.

I suspect that the highlight for the two classes on Tuesday was not that the temperature and salinity were unchanging from the surface to depth at the more distant sites, but the humpback whale(s) that were sighted!!

Humpback back

Humpback flukeThanks to Alana and Ali for photos.


Ocean acidification presentation by Dwight Owens (ONC)

November 27, 2014

On Friday 21 November, Dwight Owens (also known at Pearson College as ‘Tessa’s dad’) came from Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) to tell first year Marine Science students about the significant problem of ocean acidification.D Owens2

D Owens1

It was a wonderful presentation full of depressing facts and inspiring possibilities. Thanks very much Dwight!!

Goldstream salmon run 2014

November 19, 2014


It was time for the annual migration of Pearson College Marine Science students to Goldstream again – the 3 first year classes went on Monday 3 November, Tuesday 4 November and Wednesday 5 November. We went to observe the chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) spawning in the Goldstream River.

P1030867 P1030866

Emil camera

Ruli camera

On Tuesday we watched a young aboriginal man scoop newly arrived chum salmon out of the river and pile them into a big grey bin.

P1030870 P1030872 P1030871

C block

F block

D block

My second year Biology students were so keen to see the spawning salmon that I also took them to Goldstream on Friday 14 November, when there were many more dead salmon. Sorry to say that I only have photos of the dead salmon, not of the Biology class!

Dead salmon

Dead on rockSalmon bones

Salmon watchers are particularly interested in this cohort of chum salmon as many of them would have been hatching from their eggs in April 2011 when there was a significant fuel spill into the Goldstream River.

Bull kelp pickles

November 10, 2014


On Friday evening, Yam served and shared the bull kelp pickles that she and Noemi had prepared about 4 weeks earlier using bull kelp that we collected on one of the kelp forest field trips. The recipe they used can be found here.

It was burgers for dinner and the delicious bull kelp pickles really complimented the meal.

P1040826 P1040825Thank you Yam!!