Sampling in Grappler Inlet

As soon as we got off of the bus from Port Alberni, we went on a boat trip to do some oceanography experiments. The class met Olivia, our guide for the afternoon, who is a student at Bamfield learning about marine science. We set out in two groups along Grappler’s inlet and both groups saw plenty of wildlife including eagles, seals, and ducks. The class conducted experiments testing salinity, which is the salt to water ratio in the ocean, temperature of the water at different depths, and the visibility of the water at both the head of the inlet and the mouth. At the end, we tried to use the net to collect sampling plankton. One group did a shallow tow and the other did a deep tow. Luckily, the amount of plankton was beyond our expectation! This was an experience that opened our eyes to the amount of life that is in the ocean.  

— Jeremy and Jaydon

Asexual and Sexual Reproduction

After a delicious dinner made by BMSC, we went to the lower arid lab to learn about reproductive approaches adopted by marine creatures. There are two types of approaches: asexual and sexual reproduction. Some marine invertebrates use both approaches while others use only one. There are different forms of asexual reproduction: fragmentation, binary fission, and budding. Some invertebrates such as sponges form a new individual, when one piece breaks off. Anemones create new individuals by budding, this means they split in half to create new individuals. After learning these cool facts, we watched urchin and sand dollar eggs being fertilized.

— Gloria and Charlotte

Seaweed Lab

At first thought, seaweed may sound like a boring topic to learn about. However, there is more to seaweed than you would think. So, what is seaweed? Well, it is not a plant. It is an algae that has no roots but photosynthesizes. Its lack of vascular tissue, roots, and seeds/fruits are a few of the characteristics that differentiate it from plants. Instead of roots, it has a holdfast which attaches it to rocks and other things on the seafloor. The “stem” part of the seaweed is called a stipe and the “leaf” part is called a blade. The blade is where photosynthesis occurs. 30% of all oxygen on earth is produced through this process. Seaweed comes in three different types; red, green, and brown. Green is found in the high intertidal area due to its few accessory pigments. This means it can only absorb certain types of light. Brown is found in mid-low intertidal areas and have some accessory pigments. Brown seaweed is typically kelp. Red is found the lowest but can live anywhere due to its high amount of accessory pigments and ability to absorb light. We hope that you’ve seen how complex seaweed can be!

— Tiana, Teah 


Plankton Lab

Did you know that 65% of the worlds oxygen comes from algae? Plankton, a type of algae, is an organism that is unable to resist the oceans currents. We have Plankton to thank for many ocean related occurrences that we regularly experience on the West coast, such as: sea foam, our dark green sea water, and red tide, which is scientifically referred to as “Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning”. However Plankton are not all that bad! They also serve as the bottom of the ocean’s food chain, which means they provide nutrients to one of the oceans Carnivores and Omnivores. Enjoy some pictures and videos from today’s lab.  

— Anneke, Olivia, Khayla 

Invertebrate Lab

After a quick break to settle into our rooms we headed to the whale lab to learn about 8 different marine invertebrate phylums. There were 8 different stations set up on tables with one phyla per station with info sheets and living and nonliving examples. For each Phyla we learned defining characteristics such as how they reproduce, some fun facts and what their names mean. Two of the phyla we learned about are Porifera and Arthropoda. These mean “pore bearing” and “jointed limbs”, some examples are sea sponges which are porifera and barnacles that are arthropods, yes they actually have joints! Both of these types of organisms undergo sexual reproduction while only the porifera  undergo asexual reproduction such as binomial fission and fragmentation. At the end we were shown the phylogenetic tree that shows  how all the phyla are related to each other and us! Fun fact were more related to barnacles than sea sponges! Also underneath the Georgia straight is a reef entirely made out of sea sponge that is over 1000 years old!