We respectfully acknowledge that the BMSC is situated on the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and member of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society.
Nestled between the rugged outer coast and Barkley Sound’s protected inner waters, lies the sacred ancient village of Kiix̣in. Learn about the Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a long and proud history in their traditional territories. Their history extends back to the beginning of time, and tells of many great people, adventures, traditions and deeds. Kiixin is the traditional capital village of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation that is signatory to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern..[Read More]
Early in 1969, a float plane meandered its way over the convoluted bays of western Vancouver Island’s coast as eager eyes peered from the window. Seaweed scientist Louis Druehl was one of those aboard heading a search committee tasked with choosing the best spot to build a Canadian west coast marine science station. LINK TO STORY 1 – The Birth of BMSC.
This is the story of how five universities that in all other respects are competitors — UBC, SFU, UVic, UAlberta, UCalgary — came together to collaborate on the vision, construction and operation of BMSC. LINK TO STORY 2 – A Remarkable Collaboration.
The first visitors to the Bamfield Marine Station was a field trip from SFU. The week previous to their arrival, on March 14th 1972, the M.V. Vanlene ran aground off Austin Island, providing an opportunity to study the effects of an oil spill on the pristine shores. LINK TO STORY 4 – Bamfield Education.
The first graduate students arrive, and undergraduate field courses are held at BC Packers in West Bamfield.
The Bamfield Marine Station’s first courses were held at BC Packers in West Bamfield. In the beginning, starting with nothing, “we had to improvise everything,” says Dr. Louis Druehl, who still lives and works in Bamfield. LINK TO STORY 3 – Bamfield Research.
While the ecologists and phycologists carried on with their course work amidst friendly rivalry, construction was taking place at the old cable station site. A ‘penthouse’ for offices was built on the roof as well as a complex seawater system, sewage treatment plant, and backup generators were installed. LINK TO STORY 5 – Building a Vision.
The ‘Main Building’ labs and offices are ready for use, and the first students arrive for their courses that summer. LINK TO STORY 5 – Building a Vision.
BMSC’s main ship, the M/V Alta, was built by Little Hoquiam Shipyards in Washington (USA). Its acquisition by BMSC was due to a generous grant to the University of Calgary by the Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations and the Province of Alberta. LINK TO STORY 7 – Boats and Diving.
The Pacific Ecology Conference (PEC) was hosted by the Bamfield Marine Station for the first time in 1985. Now called the “Pacific Ecology & Evolution Conference”, PEEC is a student-run, annual conference that aims to provide opportunities to early-career scientists to exchange ideas and seek collaborations with peers from across Western Canada and the United States, welcoming presentations on any and all types of ecology/evolution research. LINK TO STORY 6 – Life at Bamfield.
The Eco-physiology Laboratory consists of five laboratories and adjoining aquaria with flow-through seawater and dry lab space, supporting neurophysiology, animal physiology, and molecular biology research. Three laboratories in the Eco-physiology building are designated for isotope use, certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and equipped with a liquid scintillation counter. This facility also houses an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer, -80˚F freezer, autoclave, and various other equipment. Expansion of the library also took place during this time. LINK TO STORY..Story 5 – Building a Vision
The funds from the CFI grant were used to provide a Fluids Dynamics Lab, a Confocal Microscope, the research and diving vessel, the Barkley Star, and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), expanding the BMSC facilities to a new level for research and education. LINK TO STORY 3 – Bamfield Research.
Now a focal point at the BMSC, “the Rix,” as it is lovingly called, is a striking building with scalloped roof and awe-inspiring ocean view. Overlooking Bamfield inlet, inside the Rix are an Environmental Integrity Lab with high-quality seawater; a Biotechnology Lab supporting molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and physiology; a Digital Imaging Facility with high tech confocal laser scanning and compound microscopes, analytical equipment labs, computer lab and office space. It was a cast of champions, featuring Dr. Dick..Story 5 – Building a Vision
The Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries is a stunning landmark on the coast, built with the generous donation from Dr. Donald B. Rix. This impressive facility, with its scalloped roof, floor-to-ceiling windows and warm wood finish, combines flexible meeting space with a breathtaking ocean view. LINK TO STORY 5 – Building a Vision.
The Bolnick Lab at the BMSC is located at the lower level of the Main Building, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Bolnick’s Lab studies the evolution and ecology of variation within species; evolutionary immunology; host-parasite co-evolution; speciation. LINK TO STORY 5 – Building a Vision.
BMSC has its major grant cut – NSERC Major Resources Support Program – representing about 20% of BMSC’s total budget. This was a huge blow, explains current director Sean Rogers, “leaving us on a ledge.” There were national repercussions from the loss of this grant, which has never been reinstated. Nevertheless, alumni and staff coming together creatively in the face of challenges, BMSC has found the motivation and funds to carry on.
Under the creative guidance of Massif Creative, BMSC embarks on a new look and feel, with the goal to re-energize the relationship with our five western Canadian university partners. Lacking a communications strategy and consistent brand identity made it difficult for BMSC to showcase the facilities, location, research resources, and academic achievements. The elevated brand has allowed us to attract new opportunities, and renew the bond with our partners.
Memorandum of Understanding signed by WCUMSS President and Huu-ay-aht First Nation for construction of a future Wastewater Plant. The WCUMSS member universities (UVIC, UBC, SFU, UCalgray and UAlberta) contribute $1M towards the Wastewater Treatment Plant. LINK TO STORY 8 – Collaborative Futures.
BMSC closed to in-person learning due to COVID-19 pandemic, remaining open for research. Online learning launched for virtual field trips. LINK TO STORY 4 – Bamfield Education.