Marine Biology Programs 

The evening programs of the Marine Biology Section are held from January through April and September through December on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Centre, 949 49th Ave W (49th at Oak), Vancouver. These programs are open to the public and members are encouraged to invite their friends. For more information and suggestions for future programs please contact the Program Co-ordinator Joan Lopez at 604-682-1617.

Thursday, January 11
The Unique and Ancient Glass Sponge Reefs of Howe Sound
Sheila Byers

Glass sponge reefs are ancient, sensitive structures that are very fragile due to an internal skeleton of almost pure glass. Glass sponge reefs off Haida Gwaii,  BC were first discovered in 1987; those in Howe Sound 20 years later. The reef formations are complex, and provide significant ecological services. Importantly, marine life (e.g., rockfishes) seeks refuge and foraging ground above and within the reefs. The long living reefs, however, are slow growing and vulnerable to high sediment loads and physical damage that can impact long-term sustainability of marine life. Reefs form at dark, cold depths on high-current pinnacles, seamounts and submarine ridges. In Howe Sound, five reefs are scuba-diver accessible, providing unique research opportunities.

Since 2012, the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society (MLSS) has discovered, mapped and monitored 13 new sponge reef complexes in Howe Sound. striving for their protection. Recent dive opportunities on a manned submersible have rewarded the hard-working MLSS team with a once-in-a-lifetime view of these incredible deep-sea cities of glass. 

Sheila Byers, a registered professional biologist and marine biologist, is the Past President of the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society. She works as a Musem Interpreter at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC.  

Thursday, February 8
Fraser River Watershed & BC Salmon
Dave Scott

The Fraser River watershed hosts a remarkable diversity of wild Chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye salmon, all of which rely on habitats in the Lower Fraser. Since colonization, however, the area has undergone a vast transformation, and the quantity and quality of salmon habitats have been drastically reduced. Today, a number of development proposals threaten to push the cumulative effects of human impacts past a tipping point. This presentation will explore the history of our relationship with salmon and their incredible importance to the biodiversity of the Salish Sea ecosystem. As well, Dave will detail the work that the Raincoast Conservation Foundation (RCF) is conducting to protect and restore wild salmon populations.

Dave Scott is the Lower Fraser Salmon Program Coordinator for RCF. He holds a Masters Degree in Resource Management from Simon Fraser University. His work with RCF has included leading the Fraser estuary juvenile salmon research program, working with local conservation organizations on salmon habitat in the Lower Fraser, and submitting evidence as an intervenor in the reviews for the Trans Mountain Expansion and Roberts Bank Terminal 2 projects.

Thursday, March 8
High Seas Protected Areas
Dr. Rashid Sumaila

 Dr. Rashid Sumaila is a University of BC fisheries economist who has proposed innovative solutions to save the world's wild fisheries. Dr. Sumaila has been awarded the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize for his work.