A few weeks ago I had a privilege to visit the remarkable Bamfield  Marine Science Centre (BMSC).


The research facility is own Universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Calgary, Simon Fraser, and Victoria.  Even though Bamfield in not far from Victoria, getting there was not easy.  We took the buss to Port Alberni where we stopped to change into a smaller one.  It was about an hour ride on a rough logging road where there were a lot of potholes and large stone. It took us a bout 4.5 hours to get to Bamfield.

The view from the station and its surroundings was amazing.  We were surrounded by majestic green forest and rippling blue ocean.  The air was also  different, fresh and salty.  One of my favorite part is to wake up in the morning and just hear the rustling of leaves and lapping of the wave.

The weather was fairly nice for most of the time we were there, except one day..when we have to go out on a boat…it was raining and windy.  The ocean was rough.  I am not a boat person and knew how things would turn out if I did not take Gravols.  Despite the sleepiness I had from the pills , I really did enjoy the boat ride.  We went out to the ocean to study the oceanography.  One part of the ‘lab’ was to drag organisms into the tank on the boat and look at them.  I saw a lot of sea stars, chitons, worm and sea cucumber.  After we observed them for a little bit, it was time to release them back into the sea.  I held/touched the sea cucumber for the fist time!!!With my bare hands too! I have to admit, it was nerve wrecking.

>>>Humans use sea cucumbers for food and medication
>>> Cachexia or wasting syndrome in sea stars

We also saw some colonies of the California sea lionsUnknown

On our way to the station, I managed to fall asleep.  We also took some samples of the ocean to be used in the next activity.

In that session we looked at marine zooplankton and phytoplankton under the microscope.  It was not easy to identify what kind they 1


One of my favourite lab was the seaweed lab where got to identify spices of seaweeds.   Seaweeds are composed of blades, floats, stripes and holdfasts.  seaweedstruct

  • Blade – tough and leathery flattened structure that withstand  wave actio.
  • Holdfast – attaches the seaweed firmly to the substrate.
  • Float – hollow or gass-filled structure that keeps the seaweed buoyant.
  • Strip – tough and flexible stem-like structure that keeps the seaweed elevated above the surface










Codium_fragileAn example of seaweed that can be found near BMSC is the Codium fragile or Dead man’s fingers.  The Codium fragile is a dark green and firm algae.  It appears as a fuzzy path of tabular fingers.  It grew in the low intertidal zone and subtidal on high-energy beaches.


Marine Microbes

Hello to my fellow readers 🙂

After we’ve been doing chemistry for a bit, we have now switched back to biology! We are currently learning about microorganisms, like viruses and bacteria.


Viruses and bacteria are the most abundant biological organisms in the ocean.  Each millilitre of ocean water contains several million microbes particles.  Because viruses can cause viral infections, they have a major impact on marine organisms and on ocean ecology.

Most viruses in marine environment are bacteriophages, but some also infect eukaryotic phytoplankton, invertebrates, and vertebrate.

>>>more information on bacteriophages! watch the video above ^^

The white spot syndrome virus (WSSR) is an example of marine virus.   WSSV is a large, enveloped, rod-shaped to elliptical virus that has double-stranded DNA. It causes the white spot syndrome disease (WSS) which  is a viral infection of penaeid shrimp.   The disease is highly lethal and contagious, therefore, it is able to kill shrimps very quickly. The white spot syndrome infection has wipe out many shrimp farms throughout the word.  Treatments are not available for the disease. However disinfectants are widely use to prevent an outbreak in ship farms and hatcheries.


This marine virus also has the potential to infect some other marine organisms and freshwater crustaceans such as crab and crayfish.

White spots on the shell of infected shrimp appear as large, dome-shaped spots under scanning electron microscope; bigger spots measure to be 0.3 to 3mm in diameter.  Smaller white spots are about 0.02 to 0.1 mm in diameter appear as linked spheres.

How can the disease be spread to another area?
– Using infected shrimps as baits or foods for another organisms
– Infected shrimps migrate from one place to the other, introducing the virus to their new habitats
– People carry the virus from infected areas to clean environments on their boots and personal equipments or by moving contaminated equipments (traps, boats, etc.)

If the population of infected organisms decease dramatically, food chains in the environments may be affected as well.

Did you know that human’s diseases can also infect marine mammals?!?
>>>Check out this article for more information

See ya next time!