Three UVic students, including environmental studies graduate students Stefania Gorgopa (left) and Desiree Bulger (middle), get ready on the dive boat to delve deep for citizen science. (Tobias Scharvogel photo)

UVic using scuba divers for science

Guardians of the Deep program wants local scuba divers to help survey fish population

University of Victoria researchers are calling on the local sport diving community for help counting at-risk species, such as the rockfish, in our local waters.

Guardians of the Deep, a new research program led by marine ecologist John Volpe and grad student Stefania Gorgopa of UVic’s School of Environmental Studies, is turning to local scuba divers for assistance with surveys of marine fish populations in protected areas around Victoria and the Gulf Islands.

“We need citizen scientist diver volunteers of all skill levels to count fish, essentially,” says Gorgopa. “Unlike terrestrial systems which are easily monitored, marine communities can be very challenging to work in and as a result our collective knowledge is extremely modest. We have many at-risk species in local waters, including rockfish, and we have little to no idea how they are doing.”

To overcome this, Gorgopa is seeking to enlist the local dive community in an effort to increase the number of eyes in the water. The research will evaluate local fish communities, assess local conservation areas, while also comparing fish count data provided by citizen science volunteers of different skill and experience levels.

Throughout the summer, Volpe and Gorgopa will hold focus information sessions for interested and experienced scuba divers. There are permanent dives sites in Victoria (Ogden Point and Henderson Point) and on Galiano Island where there will be free boat dives offered to qualified volunteers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5 million for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

Victims tell of abuse at hands of Victoria substitute teacher

Harry Charles Sadd pleaded guilty to eight charges that took place between 1970 to 1982

2020 Budget: ICBC ‘dumpster fire’ to turn into $86M surplus, NDP say

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Resident mistakes screaming teens’ late-night plunge for an emergency

Big week for Oak Bay Police who respond to rampant theft in Oak Bay, host Polar Plunge

Victoria budtenders become first private cannabis workers to unionize in Canada

Two of seven Clarity Cannabis storefronts vote to join UFCW 1518 union

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Most Read