April 6, 2018
Five cool ocean species that live off the Central Coast of British Columbia
BY: Sarah Cameron
Last month, Oceana Canada and a team of expedition partners set sail off the Central Coast of British Columbia to document life on the seafloor. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s submersible drop-camera was deployed to never-before-seen areas, diving below 200 metres. Here’s what we saw:
Pom Pom Anemones
A wall of pom pom sea anemones at almost 400 metres deep! Looking like a field of troll hair, pom pom anemones range from flat to fluffy and unlike other anemones, are not fixed to the seafloor. Scientists have even spotted them curled up like a hair roller, bouncing across the ocean floor in search of greener pastures.
Pacific halibut can weigh over 300kg (660lbs), making them the largest flatfish in the world! Flatfish swim sideways and are flattened laterally with both eyes on one side of their body. However, halibut start their lives upright. As they mature, they turn sideways with one eye migrating to the other side of their body – and you thought human puberty was bad!
Rockfish can live a very long time – with the oldest documented rockfish living over 200 years! Closely related to the most venomous fish in the world, the stonefish, rockfish are part of a family of fish with venomous spines. There are over 35 species of rockfish living off the coast of British Columbia, ranging in colour from dark brown to vibrant orange. Many of their populations are in decline, but during the expedition we saw a lot of them. This is great news for the future of these species, if we protect the habitat rockfish depend on we can help their populations recover.
A master of disguise, the octopus can change the colour and texture of their skin in the blink of an eye. Widely regarded as the smartest invertebrate on the planet, octopus are part of a small group of animals – including humans and great apes – who use tools. On expedition, we spotted an octopus doing its very best to hide with shells and other debris scattered around its den. Look closely!
Do you believe in sea monsters? With only 5% of the world’s oceans explored and only 1% of the ocean floor explored, scientists are frequently making new discoveries. While diving in Finlayson Channel at a depth of 360 meters an “ominous shadow” swam overhead – what do you think it is?