The Sea Around Us
October 2017 // For Canada C3 and Students on Ice Foundation - Re-published in Up Here Magazine (2018) and the Narwhal (2019)
Today we are out on the water with Dr. Brian Hunt, an oceanographer from UBC and his science team.
We are here sampling water. Which is a relatively affordable method of determining biodiversity that doesn’t involve killing marine life for research purposes. Animals leave DNA evidence behind as they move through the water, including shedding hair, skin or scales as well as slime/ mucous. When those cells are shed most float to the water’s surface. What we are testing reveals the genetic fingerprint for that patch of water. You can look at the whole ecosystem and not just one species at a time.
It is the scientists that in the smallest acts of retrieving water from the depths of the blue ocean are proving over and over again that they are on the front lines. Like the ocean relies on the smallest organisms to feed its entire population, humans rely on scientific observation and inquiry.