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.


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.


  • 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., rather than the new [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.”


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.


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.



Ucluelet Aquarium grand re-opening March 15

by Amanda Kahn

The Ucluelet Aquarium, across Barkley Sound from Bamfield, is re-opening its doors for another summer season on Saturday, March 15 at 12 noon.  The aquarium displays local marine life of the Pacific Northwest with the distinction of being one of the few “catch-and-release” aquaria in the world.  Admission on opening day is by donation.

The aquarium will be open on Saturday from 12 PM until 5 PM, then will begin regular hours of 10 AM to 5 PM until the summer (when they will stay open until 6 PM).  Check their website for current hours and rates.

Touch tanks at the Ucluelet Aquarium

Touch tanks at the Ucluelet Aquarium. Credit: Ucluelet Aquarium Society.

Bamfield screening of Blackfish a success

by Amanda Kahn

The Bamfield Graduate Students Society, with efforts spearheaded by president Kat Anderson, hosted the first showing of Blackfish on Vancouver Island last night.  Over 70 people, including members of the community, summer students, graduate students, and researchers attended.  Folks settled on the couches, chairs, and pillows on the floor of the Rix building, ate kettle corn, and learned about the history of Tilikum the killer whale.

Blackfish Poster

The showing was a great success and the Graduate Student Society hopes to do more of these community events in the future.  Check out the movie trailer below and click here to find a screening near you.

Free R Workshop at BMSC

by Amanda Kahn

Figure 1. A line graph at a  30 degree angle.

Figure 1. The workshop will likely focus on making data plots, and other R basics.

Guest speaker Allan Roberts from Ocean Networks Canada will be presenting a workshop on R, a versatile statistics package that’s useful in the marine sciences and related disciplines. For a summary of recent data workshops which were held at UVic in July, click here.

R Workshop
The day: August 1, 2013
The hour: 7:00 PM
The location: Rix Classroom C
What to bring: a computer with R installed (preferably R Studio)
Free for everyone.

R Bootcamp 2013 at BMSC

A beautiful Sunday in Bamfield (photo credit: Gillian Walker).

A beautiful Sunday in Bamfield (photo credit: Gillian Walker).

By Christina Suzanne

This year’s R bootcamp ran from March 3-7, 2013, immediately following the
Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference (PEEC 2013). The workshop was
taught by Dr. Jean Richardson and Dr. Brad Anholt. The participants
ranged from R novice to R veterans; however, everyone learned something
useful and new! The five intensive days covered such things as data
input/output, managing data, scatterplots, error bars, maps,
multi-panel figures, t-tests, ANOVA, multivariate analysis, mixed effect
models, and much, much more! It also introduced various R packages, including ggplot2, vegan and lme4. Everyone left the workshop feeling much more
confident in R, and willing to tackle their own statistical problems using
R. Attending a future R bootcamp at BMSC is highly recommended to anyone who wants to start learning the R language, or increase their understanding of it!

Bamfield Anacla Digital Storytelling

Windy ride

By  Nicole Webster

While in Bamfield mid February, I was fortunate to be there for the showing of the ‘Bamfield and Anacla Digital Storytelling’ project, a collection of video stories about Bamfield and Anacla. The videos were screened with great success and attendance in both Bamfield and Anacla.

The entire event was run by Cat Thompson, the coordinator for the Bamfield Community School Association. She applied for and received a neat grant from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. She organized a digital storytelling workshop run by 2 facilitators from Royal Roads University to teach volunteers the basics of storytelling and video editing, and then set them free. Below are the 9 videos, each in its own style, laying out stories from the area.

Drive (Roger Demontigny):

My Culture, My language, My life:Mary Newfield (Catherine Thompson):

Jim Moncur: The Boy who Loved Boats (Heather Cooper):

Nick and Mike Germani (Louis Druehl and Rae Hopkins):

Memories of Bamfield (Steven Clarke):

Ban-acla, the possible story of one (Anne Stewart):

Basket Weaving (Charlie Clappis):

Bamfield Community Hall (Jean Richardson):

Bamfield Centennial Park (Eileen Scott):

I hope these gave you a better idea of what the community of Bamfield as a whole is like; not just a repository for the marine station.

The new view

Windy ride

By  Nicole Webster

Starting last November, a construction crew arrived in Bamfield to make a new dock. That crew just left this week, and West Bamfield is a different place. Well, the Coast Guard is anyway.

This is what the BMSC view used to look like.

This is what the BMSC view used to look like.

There was lots of apparent chaos in the first few weeks. With two giant barges...

There was lots of apparent chaos in the first few weeks. With two giant barges…

A tug boat to lug them around...

A tug boat to lug them around…

A the cutest tug I have ever seen! Seemed to be for precise positioning of the barges

The cutest tug I have ever seen! Seemed to be for precise positioning of the barges

There was also plenty of music as the crane dropped a metal weight into the piles, ringing them like a bell.

There was also plenty of music as the crane dropped a metal weight into the piles, ringing them like a bell.



This was the point it was at near Christmas.

When I returned this week, They were almost done building the cement dock. It is apparently multi-purpose. One, it will add more dock for the Coast Guard, so they may not have to park the research vessels on the Government dock. Two, as a rigid (though floating) cement dock, it will may act partially as a wave break, protecting the up-inlet docks from storm surge and what not.

That was not all. In a separate project, the Coast Guard has demolished an 80 year old building. 

What was their offices/communication/and boat repair shed.

What was their offices/communications/boat repair shed.

The new view of the Coast guard, with new dock and missing building.

The new view of the Coast guard, with new dock and missing building.

The barges have left, but construction still appears to continue on the front ‘lawn’, where they will presumedly be replacing their old building in time.