Ocean Ecology’s Past

Who were We?

Based out of Prince Rupert, we used our 40 foot research boat, the Moody Blue, and our 33 foot sail boat, the Awen, to carry out community-based, independent, scientific (biology, chemistry, and oceanography) research. We used low-cost, appropriate technology for our studies, which gave remote communities the opportunity to gather detailed information about their marine environment. Our goal was to enhance our environment by encouraging an awareness of our connections with our ecosystems, developing patterns of sustainability and resilience, and supporting growth towards localism.

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Skeena River Estuary Juvenile Salmon Habitat


The Skeena is the second largest river in the province, and one of the longest un-dammed rivers in the world. The Skeena River estuary is a unique system in that it does not have a single distinct intertidal delta typical of most estuary systems. Instead, suspended sediments are deposited in shoals along the lower river and the channels which connect the estuary to the open ocean, creating a region of extensive mudflats and shallow, intertidal passages. The estuary mudflats and other intertidal areas have been identified as critical habitats for Skeena River juvenile salmon, as well as important habitat for eulachon and migratory/wintering waterfowl.

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Sustainable Research Vessel

As a part of our approach to our work, we are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. After an evening’s discussion with like-minded friends, we started putting our minds to the question “What would a sustainable research vessel look like?” After much mulling and some research, I  put our thoughts down on this page to stimulate further discussions.

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Northcoast Plankton Identification and Monitoring Program

The Northcoast region has been undergoing dramatic changes with respect to how natural resources are being utilized. There is a need to diversify the resource industries in the community so that resources which are currently under stress will not be exhausted and new resources can be brought on line. This has led to the exploration of opportunities in new fisheries, in value-added processing, and in mariculture.

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Wreck of the Zalinski

History of the Zalinski

The USAT Brigadier General M. G. Zalinski was a U.S. Army transport ship that served in both World War I and World War II. She was a steel ship 251 feet in length, 44 feet in width, and 26 feet in depth. She was originally built in 1919 as the Lake Frohna (Hull number 765) at the American Ship Building Company in Lorain, Ohio as a cargo vessel for the U.S. Shipping Board. From 1919 to 1924, she was owned by the U.S. Shipping Board.

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Herring Spawn Video Survey

Pacific Herring

Pacific herring, small, silver-coloured fish, are the most abundant fish species in Canada’s Pacific coastal waters. About 500 linear kilometres of British Columbia’s coastline turn milky-white every March and April, as a result of the herring’s release of countless sperm around the eggs (roe) spawned on algal beds.

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Kaien Island ROMS Model

Kaien Island Model

As a part of a project for Mavi Innovations Inc., Ocean Ecology developed an ocean circulation model for a region around Kaien Island. ROMS (Regional Ocean Modeling System) was chosen to carry out the ocean current studies. ROMS is a three-dimensional, free-surface, terrain-following numerical model that solves the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (equations used to describe Newton’s Second Law of Motion in incompressible fluids) using the hydrostatic and Boussinesq assumptions. ROMS uses an orthogonal curvilinear coordinate system.

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The Skeena River Estuary

Chatham Sound

Chatham Sound is situated in the northern part of British Columbia, located between Dundas and Stephens Islands and the Tsimpsean Peninsula near Prince Rupert and bordering on Alaska. It is a semi-enclosed basin with an area of approximately 1500 km2, and is influenced by fresh water from two large rivers, the Skeena and the Nass (Trites, 1956).

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Chatham Sound Eelgrass Study, July to September, 2012


Generally situated in shallows and along complex shorelines highly valued by recreational users, eelgrass meadows are both ecologically valuable and potentially threatened. They provide rearing habitats for the juvenile stages of many species of fish, foraging habitats for both migratory and resident bird species, and recent research also suggests that eelgrass plays a critical role in carbon sequestration.

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Fisheries Science

Fisheries Science

Fisheries management draws on fisheries science in order to find ways to protect fishery resources so that sustainable exploitation is possible. Fisheries science is the academic discipline of managing and understanding fisheries. It is a multidisciplinary science, which draws on the disciplines of oceanography, marine biology, marine conservation, ecology, population dynamics, economics and management in an attempt to provide an integrated picture of fisheries.

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