Orcatalk

A student's journey through the world of bioacoustics

SIMRES gets an eye under the sea

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Last weekend, Mike and Matt from SubEye Technologies came to visit us on Saturna Island. Particularly notable for their endeavor to use modern technology to give landlubbers an authentic, diving experience without having to get in the water, some readers may remember them from their “live-dive” a few weeks ago during the Intertidal Safari. They have the technology for two-way communication with divers, coupled with a live stream of what the divers are seeing. They’re work makes it possible for viewers to see and hear the sounds of the ocean, and chat with the divers about what they’re seeing, all without having to enter our chilly, Northeast Pacific seas.

They’re also in the business of doing long-term, underwater camera deployments that can stream live over the internet, such as the seal-cam at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Warf. (Note that, if all you see is green, it may just be a productive time in our seas, making the visibility worse than it would be in less productive areas.)  http://www.subeye.ca/seal-camera/ They’re looking to do the same thing for us, here on Saturna Island.

While we’re not streaming the video just yet, Mike and Matt did deploy the camera last weekend, and it’s working well! Here’s a shot of Mike suiting up for the task.

Suit up!

Suit up!

And one of his sea-otter impression.

So convincing!

So convincing!

Can’t you just imagine him with an urchin on his chest, ready to eat? No?

IMG_1424_2

How about now?

But I digress.

Mike took my GoPro on a journey from the surface to the camera platform. Take the colouration with a grain of salt – the image from the GoPro got a little washed out near the surface. When you  first see the kelp forest, imagine it in these colours:

Jelly in the kelp forest near the deployment site

Jelly in the kelp forest near the deployment site

GOPR0052_2

 

Mike also took a really great video of a seastar affected by seastar wasting syndrome. But that’ll be a topic for another post.

 

Land photos by Lily Campbell. Photo edit and subsea photo by Kristen Kanes. Video by Mike Irvine.

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3 thoughts on “SIMRES gets an eye under the sea

  1. Good contact for your crew.
    The star fish mass wasting has been documented in California and on our trip in May 2014 through Oregon was on the lips of the environmental groups groups on the beaches South West of Portland.
    They ( the beach watchers), claimed that the waisting affliction was working it’s way north to Oregon, as if it were a virus.
    This documentation is the first I have heard of it this far north. This year and last year the sea-stars on the beaches at East Point looked healthy. Is this a sudden change?
    Cheers
    Tom

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  2. It does seem to be fairly sudden, yes. Although, I’m told that it’s been affecting a number of sea star species in BC for some time now. This year has been the most noticeable from shore, because, as far as I’ve heard, it’s the first time it’s affected the purple ochre stars. As an intertidal species, they’re a bit more noticeable than some of the species found at greater depths that have already been experiencing wasting.

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    • Various causes are being speculated about. I sent a video clip via Tom Dakin that might be an interesting group to record changes you see on Saturna with, The anoxia conditions are one of the other contributing environmental reasons people have referred to in the literature on sea star mass waisting disease. …. However….. There is even a case recorded in a California Aquarium.
      The sea stars were very healthy in the intertidal zones that we visited this year( JULY ) in SE Alaska. Christine will have to send along some of her Transient Orca shots….especially one sequence of a hunt of a doll’s porpoise by a family group of three. (mom, dad and junior) We have documented them and shared all the saddle patches with your resident UBC expert on the transients.
      Cheers
      T

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