The BMSC Star

June 2020

Since 1972, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) has been weaving together an extraordinary scientific community of students, researchers, staff, and alumni.
We invite you to discover how we are adapting to new challenges with innovative solutions!

Director's message

Dr. Sean Rogers

A little over a year ago BMSC completed a five year strategic plan (2019-2023). The plan was fostered from the ground level, working with staff, students, researchers and the community. Everyone agreed that one of the beliefs that underlies our vision of life-changing exploration and discovery is partnership.

Indeed, partnerships built on respectful communication and cooperation have always been a catalyst for our success. Whether we consider the notion of five universities partnering 48 years ago to build a field station on the west coast, supporting Huu-ay-aht First Nations in our collective quest for improvements to the Bamfield Road, or simply coming together (by staying apart) to beat Covid-19, BMSC will continue to pursue common goals through collaboration with all of our partners. Our plan is unwavering as we move forward. We hope you enjoy reading about some of our partners in this newsletter, and in the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “be kind, be calm and be safe”.

- Sean Rogers, Director

Royal Society profiles BMSC in "Science in Lockdown"

“Like most field stations, our remote location challenges our response to this global pandemic. Research has been severely restricted to accommodate only “critical” ongoing projects and animal care, and we have cancelled all of our in-person university field courses.

In their place, we are innovating to shift two of these ‘field’ courses online, and now offer weekly “Live Labs” for K-12 students supported by NSERC Promoscience. Dealing with uncertainty is common in field work. This global pandemic continues to challenge us, yet field stations and their local communities embody resilience. Together, we will get through
this and be there to promote life-changing exploration and discovery for the next generation of scientists, even as they prepare to re-enter a world filled with new challenges.”
- Chris Neufeld and Sean Rogers, Director

50th Anniversary preparations are underway!

Stickleback research @BMSC
Dr. Dina Navon

How do complex, interacting behaviours evolve, and which genes are ultimately responsible? Dr. Dina Navon, Postdoctoral Fellow, is investigating questions about the genetic architecture of biomechanics in marine and freshwater threespine stickleback at the BMSC. Her research includes assessing feeding behaviours in juvenile and adult fish using high-speed video. She is co-supervised by Dr. Sean Rogers (UCalgary) and Dr. Tim Higham (UC Riverside), and has completely taken over the stickleback lab in the Fluids building!


Aquaculture Initiatives
Cascadia Seaweed

Seaweeds provide a vast array of essential ecosystem services. They are primary producers, provide habitat for marine life, and sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide – they are also delicious! The human and ecological benefits of seaweeds are endless, and seaweed cultivation is on the rise. Cascadia Seaweed (Sidney, BC) recently implemented a seaweed nursery at the BMSC, and have exciting plans for cultivating kelp.

We are thrilled to support them in their innovative work!


Online field trips? YES WE CAN!
BMSC Live!

Our educational programs, funded in part by NSERC Promoscience, and the Wendy and Leslie Rebanks Bursary, is providing virtual learning experiences for University and K-12 groups. Join us for a BMSCLive event or watch our shows on YouTube!

Bringing our research to your living room
Research Seminar Series

Join us to learn about the exciting and important research conducted by our scientists and alumni. This year, our Research Seminar Series will take place online, so tune in each week as we feature a new scientist from among the experts in our community.

Leading the way with online field courses

This summer, we will provide university students with opportunities to experience the life-changing environment of Barkley Sound from the comfort of their own home. As is typical of BMSC undergraduate courses, students will gain valuable field skills and knowledge, but they will do so remotely by accessing online content. Our new courses will include a combination of real-time and asynchronous interactions with instructors and tutorial assistants, which will be broadcast from the field. Participants will gain all the benefits of a field course even though they can't actually visit the field.

June 25- July 15, 2020
Research in Marine Ecology

This hands-on virtual field course will focus on the ecology of marine ecosystems with a strong emphasis on local intertidal and subtidal habitats.

During virtual field trips, paper discussions, workshops, and lectures, students will learn many of the essential tools of practicing marine ecologists. Students will apply their new skills and knowledge as team-members in an ongoing long-term historical study of kelp forest distributions in Barkley Sound.


      August 14 - September 4, 2020
      Environmental Law & Sustainability

      This course is an exploration of the structures of policy and law that shape environmental governance on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and how the Indigenous communities and ecosystems of the west coast of Vancouver Island shape law and policy. The goal is to understand the complex socio-ecological and legal structures – both Nuu-chah-nulth and Canadian – that underpin the overlapping jurisdictional and governance systems in the region.


      Staff feature: It’s never really goodbye to BMSC

      Each member of the BMSC team brings a unique set of qualifications and experiences to their positions. There have been a few changes!

      Dr. Chris Neufeld

      Chris leaves behind a Education Unit primed to overcome new challenges. [MORE]

      Dr. Kaitlin Gallagher

      Kaitlin, our first BMSC Post Doc, will be joining the faculty at Christian Brothers University this fall. [MORE]

      Lee Weber

      Lee is taking on the role of Operations Manager, Deputy Director.

      Tao Eastham

      Tao has joined the research team in the role of Research Coordinator (Acting).

      Em Lim

      Em, the voice of #BMSCLive, is beginning graduate research with Dr. Isabelle Côté's lab.

      Chuck Spooner

      Chuck has recently joined the BMSC team as the Assistant to the Operations Manager.

      Thank you to Dr. Lesley Rigg

      BMSC would like to congratulate Dr. Lesley Rigg for her appointment as Vice-President, Research at Western University, effective August 1, 2020. Lesley has been the Dean of Science at the University of Calgary since 2015, voting member of WCUMSS Management Council, and forest ecology researcher at the BMSC during this time. Most recently, Dr. Rigg became a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and received a Woman of Inspiration Award for being a Vision Builder in Canada.

      Bamfield has benefited immensely from her leadership on a multitude of levels. Her support of Bamfield has been unequivocal, and her work on Management Council has been impactful, including reshaping our organizational structure to improve communication, support for staff and sustainability of the BMSC. Indeed, her support and work in creating opportunities for BMSC students to obtain a research experience will continue to spark a love for field research and ocean science. We would like to thank Lesley for her service and wish her the best in her new role! We also look forward to seeing her return to Bamfield eventually to continue her work in biogeography, forest ecosystems and vegetation dynamics!

      Select recent BMSC publications
      View all

      Contrasting effects of coastal upwelling on growth and recruitment of nearshore Pacific rockfishes (genus Sebastes )

      Russell W. Markel, Jonathan B. Shurin
      Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2020

      The importance of a single amino acid substitution in reduced red blood cell carbonic anhydrase function of early-diverging fish

      Angelina M. Dichiera, Olivia J. L. McMillan, Alexander M. Clifford, Greg G. Goss, Colin J. Brauner & Andrew J. Esbaugh
      Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 2020

      Predicting the fate of eDNA in the environment and implications for studying biodiversity

      Jori B. Harrison, Jennifer M. Sunday, & Sean M. Rogers
      Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2019

      Sitka periwinkle grazing behaviour related to trematode infection: a multi-site study

      Mónica Ayala-Díaz, Jean M. L. Richardson, Bradley R. Anholt
      Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2019

      Thank you to our donors for your support

      We are passionate about training the next generation of ocean scientists, educators and stewards.

      Your investment in BMSC research, teaching and learning supports a vision of life-changing exploration and discovery in the coastal and marine sciences.

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      Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

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      Bamfield, B.C. VOR 1B0

      +1 (250) 728-3301

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      BMSC is a not-for-profit registered Canadian charity.