Students and the public on the Island’s West Coast had a chance to experience leading ocean science and local marine research aboard a Canadian Coast Guard ship this week.
The PromoScience Expedition, an innovative floating science project funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada was scheduled to make stops in Bamfield, Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet Oct. 17 to 21.
The expedition is billed as an opportunity for students and community groups to meet scientists working in the coastal marine environment.
Alberni Valley residents hopped aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship Vector on Oct. 18 and 19 while it was docked at Harbour Quay near the old lighthouse and the Maritime Heritage Society Museum. Admission was by donation.
The project aims to stimulate curiosity about the marine environment and creates opportunities for students and community members to explore marine research equipment, interact with scientists and stimulate their curiosity about local mysteries in their own marine backyard.
Scientists demonstrate how they use oceangraphic and geoscience sampling instruments to reveal secrets of the coastal ocean. Participants will learn how researchers gather information about ocean temperature, salinity and oxygen content, the zooplankton that live there and seismic and sediment information about what lies below the seafloor.
“We’ll demonstrate how something like taking a core sample from the seafloor can help West Coast communities plan for an earthquake, sea level rise and understand the ocean on their doorstep,” said Randy Enkin, research scientist with Natural Resources Canada in advance of the tour. “The exciting thing about marine science is there are so many discoveries still to be made and these students could be the future scientists who make those discoveries.”
The PromoScience Expedition is a joint project between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Natural Resources Canada and Royal Roads University.