Collecting… without SCUBA

Pam Windsor Reidby Pam Windsor Reid


Do you SCUBA dive? Then you probably know exactly how you’re going to collect your organism of choice. But… what if you don’t have SCUBA certification?
This doesn’t mean you can’t collect at all. I have been going to Bamfield on and off since 2006 for collecting trips. I don’t have SCUBA certification, and I’m not even that strong a swimmer. So, how do I get my animals?
There are a couple of ways to get my animals. Don’t get me wrong, you pretty much need SCUBA for some things, but there are often options to get around that.

1. Settlement ropes. These babies are simply tied to the south dock, and hung over the edge to allow critters of all sorts to make that their home. We use a weight at one end (a brick or something heavy), and hang upside-down plant pots to provide a little shelter for animals that need it.

Rope collections on a sunny July day. (Photo credit: A. Riesgo)

2. Snorkeling. If you’re not SCUBA certified, and you’ve never snorkeled, this might make you nervous. The thing is snorkeling is pretty easy, and this is coming from a bad swimmer! The only issue you may come across here is not being able to get down deep enough to get your stuff. This takes practice, but you can dive down… just remember not to inhale down there, because you’ll end up with a mouth full of water!

This is me snorkeling for sponges, about my third time snorkeling in my life. I was already able to dive down a little to get sponges off the rocks about 5-6 feet down. (Photo credit: A. Riesgo)

3. Make friends! There are plenty of people around Bamfield who LOVE to dive, and often they are willing to swap a collection dive for a favour or two: maybe a dinner, maybe some field work of theirs. Definitely be willing to make time for them, since they were willing to make time for you.

Jackson suiting up and diving in. (Photo credit: E. Adams)

Ana is ready for anything! (Photo credit: E. Adams)

I’ve left out other options (dredging, for example) here only because I haven’t had personal experience with these. If you have used any alternate methods of collection, please comment on that. If you need to collect an animal or other organism and you’re not sure how, ask a question!


2 thoughts on “Collecting… without SCUBA

  1. I manage to collect most of my organisms through low tides, but mine are mostly intertidal, so that’s a bit of a no-brainer. Keep in mind these types of practicalities when you choose your study organism (if possible)!

  2. Well, there are ways to collect organisms, yes, but to have a scuba certificate, to be a professional diver, now, that could add up to your skills in underwater adventure and you could collect more specimens because of it.
    Ed of

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s