Sandy Mussel beds II

Windy ride

By  Nicole Webster
I was back at Ross this Spring, and am here to update you on the state of the mussel bed on the beach. Short form: It’s still there! (last year’s post)

Overview of the bed, facing the point. Credit: N Webster

Overview of the bed, facing the point. Credit: N Webster

 

Close up of the mussels. They are about 5cm in length. Credit N. Webster

Close up of the mussels. They are about 5cm in length. Credit N. Webster

The mussels are big enough, I could believe they are the same as last year’s, and if so, must have survived the winter storms without a good anchor due to the very protective nature of the beach.

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Spider-cam

There’s a late-night invader on the BMSC webcam (a great place to get a spot of nostalgia, or to be glad its not raining where you are!)

The view of tonight's webcam: A spider web and the lights of West Bamfield

The view of tonight’s webcam (22:02 PST): A spider web and the lights of West Bamfield. Credit: N Webster

New face of BMSC

By Nicole Webster

Some of you more social-networky types may have notices a few changes. This is the first step in a huge rebranding project! The information and quotes below were given to me by Heather Alexander, who is the project manager. The opinions stated below are my own.

Purpose

The BMSC brand is broader than its visual identity, more than a signature or symbol. Our brand is the intangible sum of the our attributes: its name, values, offerings, people, its history and reputation and the way it is experienced and promoted. “

I think the idea is to show off to others what the BMSC is, and give it a facelift at the same time.

Why?

  • Well a big reason is the loss of NSERC funding, which has been a big blow to the station. The idea is to create a fresh image, promoting the station to its member universities, as well as to possible funding sources, and hopefully keeping things running.
    • A big part of this campaign will be to change the way our  five member universities (UVic, SFU, UBC, UofA, UofC) look at the BMSC. “[T]o raise the profile of BMSC and show that BMSC is a valued asset, and to give a sense of ownership to the home universities.” Before I arrived, I though if BMSC a ‘field station’, an offshoot of the biology department for research or some undergrad courses. This is becoming less true, and the BMSC wants to remind/inform the universities of that, “to engage the member universities in the idea that BMSC is a branch of their campus, with facilities useful to many departments.” BMSC has started making inroad into other areas of research, offering popular non-biology courses in archaeology, ethonobotany, science for non science majors, and science film making and journalism. The same sort of outreach has been going on at the research level, with social scientists staying on station and engineers coming to use the gigantic flume for fluid dynamics studies
  • A second reason is discontinuity. The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre used to be the Bamfield Marine Station, and not everything was changed to reflect the new name (eg. www.bms.bc.ca, rather than the new www.bamfieldmsc.com [Both links still work]). The starfish logo is no always the same colour or shape, and is thus not standardized.
  • A third reason is opportunity: “Mark Doherty, owner of Massif, a PR/Design firm from Vancouver, and a part time resident of Bamfield, has offered the services of his company at a greatly reduced rate.”

What?

We have already seen some changes on the internet. There have been updates to twitter, facebook, youtube, google+, and linkedin, and the main webpage.

They have also created a single BMSC alumni facebook group, as a single place to make updates available to past students, and a place where all of us can interact, rather than in our separate cohorts (eg. summer 2012, fall 2013…).

The merchandise is being updated, with the first order already arrived, reflecting the new logo and colour scheme.

Mock up of the new merchandise. Don't fret, they have hoodies too! (and T-shirts, sweat pants, toques, travel mugs...)

Mock up of the new merchandise. Don’t fret, they have hoodies too! (and T-shirts, sweat pants, toques, travel mugs…)

Changes are ongoing, and most are superficial to date, creating a uniform scheme to the BMSC web presence, as well as in brochures, buisiness cards, headers, signage at the station… However, I’m quite excited for the major update to the webpage that is forthcoming, updating information, and (hopefully) making the site more usable.

Thoughts

As always, change is scary. I like the idea of bringing things into line, and especially the idea of better advertising to the member universities. Not only to increase enrollment but to hopefully increase funding and appreciation by the administrations.

There’s two new taglines (anyone know what the old one was, if it exists?):

‘Immerse yourself’
‘Your oceanside campus’

The first is clever and cute, the second seems more practical, and aimed directly at the universities, rather than students/clients.

I really don’t like the new logo. I see that it is stylish, and fresh, and its still got a starfish, but its all soft edges and texture. I understand that a new logo is expected with a revamp, but I love the simplicity of the coil-y starfish. If I were in charge (but I’m not, and I have no idea of the behind-doors situation), I would have made the font and colour changes, but left the starfish – a continuity to the past, a commitment to not too much change from what we love, nor a focus on appearance over substance.

One version of old logo, simple.

One version of old logo.

New logo.

New logo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do like the picture heavy content. The beauty of BMSC and Barkley sound are a major part of its success. I would note that both of these images are biologically impossible with water going only halfway up, but I like the style.

Google+ header

Google+ header.

Facebook header

Facebook header

I’m also very excited to arrive in Bamfield, and see what practical changes (if any) will be made to the station itself and how it is run. I hope this will make the difference.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Footer of website and letterhead.

Footer of website and letterhead.

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Slow life- Coral, sponges, and echinoderm time lapse

I just came across this mind-blowingly beautiful time lapse work of some slow organisms. Take a look (on a big screen at full size and resolution):

This was done by Daniel Stoupin. You can learn about how he made this video, or check out his other amazing work on his blog or website.

Death on the point

Windy ride
By  Nicole Webster

The 'tidal flat' on the point beside first beach. Does this have a geographical name? Credit: N. Webster

The ‘tidal flat’ on the point beside first beach. Does this have a geographical name? Credit: N. Webster

On the same hike with the escaping amphipods, I also saw a tidal flat (is that the right word?) covered in dead things. I’m unsure what the cause of the death was. We were just at the end of a neap tide cycle (with smaller tide fluctuations), and the weather had been really nice (~20C, http://climate.weather.gc.ca/). Perhaps it was just too hot, and this spot was fairly high up on the shore. Perhaps a combination of no really high tides with many hot days was too much. This is unsurprising, and certainly happens all the time. There are many occaisions where you can see swathes of dead barnacles and sea weed after a scorching summer day with a mid-day low tide. This was the first time I saw a diversity of organisms. Beyond fish and chitons (pictured) There were many empty limpet shells and crabs.

A unknown fish, already well stripped, with some Littorina sniffing around. Credit: N. Webster

A unknown fish, already well stripped, with some Littorina sniffing around. Credit: N. Webster

A poor dead chiton, being gleefully devoured by a small hermit crab. Credit: N Webster

A poor dead chiton, being gleefully devoured by a small hermit crab. Credit: N Webster

Escapee

By Nicole Webster

This was an interesting little incident encountered in a tidal pool. We saw an amphipod get caught by an anemone, then escape!

This was in a reasonably large tidepool on Nudibranch point.

View of the point Credit. N. Webster

View of the point Credit. N. Webster

The amphipod (sand hopper) trapped (probably Traskorchestia traskiana but there are many species of intertidal ampipods that need a microscope for ID) in the tentacles (Anthopleura elegantissima) Credit: N. Webster

We saw this happen several time in just a few minutes, so it must happen constantly. The anemone did react, pulling the amphipod in, but to no avail.

The same amphipod happy on the edge of the anemone. Credit: N. Webster

The same amphipod happy on the edge of the anemone. Credit: N. Webster

I can imagine that the anemones do catch and eat one every now and then, but there was no thrashing or panic evident on the part of the amphipod, it simply, carefully, kinda crawled out. It would not be a very viable strategy to swim seemingly randomly around the tide pool without being able to escape small anemones. I think it would be a different story escaping from the larger Anthopleura xanthogrammica.

A view of the full size of the strangely elongated anemone. This might be from growing above some large mussels that have since died. Credit. N. Webster

A view of the full size of the strangely elongated anemone. This might be from growing above some large mussels that have since died. Credit. N. Webster

Another A. elegantissima stretching around a mussel in the same pool. Credit: N. Webster

Another A. elegantissima stretching around a mussel in the same pool. Credit: N. Webster

These anemones also don’t appear typical, they are missing their green colouration, and are strangely elongate. The white colouration is probably bleaching, a loss of the symbiotic zooxanthellae, just like you hear about for coral. There could be several causes, but I think that this loss is due to chemical or temperature stress. The tide pool was fairly high up, and may have been low salinity (based on the algae?)

Dog Frog Bog

Windy ride
By  Nicole Webster

We went off on a adventure a few weeks ago into a bog. Its just past the dump of the North side of the road (left side on your way out of town). It is the leaf shaped clearing on Google Maps:

Credit: D. Macias

Credit: D. Macias

There's no entrance, so a short bush-wack is required. Credit: N. Webster

There’s no entrance, so a short bush-wack is required. Suz leads the ways for Kat, Daniel, Monica and I. Credit: N. Webster

I call it a bog based on Environment Canada’s definition to separate bogs, swamps, fens, and marshes (which I looked up just for you). This wetland was dominated by sphagnum mosses, and is thus a bog.

Not smelly, but wet, and many of us got in deeper than our rubber boots. Credit: N Webster

Not smelly, but wet, and many of us got in deeper than our rubber boots. Credit: N Webster

Other small lovely thing. Credit: N. Webster

Other small lovely thing, a moss of uncertain identity. Credit: N. Webster

Dog in a Bog. Credit: N. Webster

Dog in a Bog. Credit: N. Webster

The promised Frog in a Bog (hopefully not that surprising. This is a Northern Red-legged frog, Rana aurora. Credit: N. Webster

The promised Frog in a Bog (hopefully not that surprising). This is the Northern Red-legged frog, Rana aurora. Credit: N. Webster

The predominant Sphagnum with a lovely (but deadly if you are small and stupid enought) sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) Credit: N. Webster

The predominant Sphagnum with a lovely (but deadly if you are small and stupid enough) sundew, Drosera rotundifolia. Credit: N. Webster

Considering all our rain, it could be very wet now, but it was a great, though not easy short hike, with a totally different feel than temperate rainforest or sandy/rocky coast.