PromoScience Expedition to showcase ocean science and marine research

Students and the public in four West Coast Vancouver Island communities are invited to experience leading ocean science and local marine research aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Vector Oct. 17–21.

The PromoScience Expedition, an innovative floating science project funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, is an opportunity for students and community groups in Bamfield, Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet to meet scientists working on characterizing the coastal marine environment. The joint project between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Natural Resources Canada and Royal Roads University aims to stimulate curiosity about the marine environment.

The PromoScience Expedition creates opportunities for students and community members to explore marine research equipment, interact with scientists and stimulate their curiosity about local mysteries in their own marine backyard.

Students and community science groups are scheduled to board the CCGS Vector for morning programs while the public is invited to activities in the afternoon. Admission is free.

Scientists will demonstrate how they use oceanographic and geoscience sampling instruments to reveal secrets of the coastal ocean. Participants will learn how researchers gather information about ocean temperature, salinity and oxygen content, the zooplankton that live there and seismic and sediment information about what lies below the seafloor.

“We'll demonstrate how something like taking a core sample from the seafloor can help West Coast communities plan for an earthquake, sea level rise and understand the ocean on their doorstep,” says Randy Enkin, research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. “The exciting thing about marine science is there are so many discoveries still to be made and these students could be the future scientists who make those discoveries.” 

Canada’s on-the-water science is supported by the Canadian Coast Guard, and the CCGS Vector’s officers and crew will also be on hand to demonstrate and talk about Coast Guard programs, including search and rescue activities of the science research vessels.

“By raising awareness of ocean science and showcasing careers and university programs focused on the environment, we’ll demonstrate how everyone can play a part in sustaining coastal communities through education and training,” says Audrey Dallimore, associate professor in Royal Roads University’s School of Environment and Sustainability.

Peter Chandler, Fisheries and Oceans Canada oceanographer, says the focus of the expedition is to invite the communities to interact and engage with marine research.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to share with those who live and work in these coastal regions how we understand the marine environment and how we can further that understanding.”

PromoScience Expedition schedule

Bamfield, Oct. 17: CCGS Vector will dock alongside the Coast Guard SAR Station. The ship is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The station is also open to the public at the West Government Dock.

Port Alberni, Oct. 18-19: The public is invited to board theCCGS Vector from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will be docked at Harbour Quay near the old lighthouse and the Maritime Heritage Society Museum. Admission to the museum is by donation.

Tofino, Oct. 20: The public is invited to board the CCGS Vector at the First Street Public Dock from 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. West Coast NEST and Clayoquot Biosphere Trust will highlight community research activities and coastal issues at the Ocean Fair also happening at the First Street Public Dock.

Ucluelet, Oct. 21: CCGS Vector will dock at the Ucluelet Aquarium, which will offer free admission that day. The ship is open to the public from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.