Forage Fish Sampling - Halloween Night

Author: Brittany Milner

One of the many reasons I wanted to become a Student Research Assistant for the Forage Fish Spawning Habitat Monitoring Project at MABRRI was to gain more experience and knowledge sampling on beaches for forage fish! So far, this position has done just that! On the night of Halloween, Chrissy, Olivia, and I set out to sample our core sites for the project. Olivia is joining us some of our sampling days as she is researching microplastic in sand lance habitats for her independent study. Once Olivia completed her sampling, she helped us collect data and sample!

Since we have to sample based on tide heights, our trip had to be planned so that we arrived at all our locations at an optimal time with low tides. Therefore, we had a very late night! We left the VIU campus at 8:00 pm so we could arrive in Maple Bay for sampling around 9:00pm. Headlamps were VERY handy for us as we were sampling in the dark. After sampling in Maple Bay, we made our way north to Qualicum to sample Sunny Beach. The drive was great, as we had good company, and Haley and Alanna are the best and packed us lots of Halloween chocolates and some fruit… balance is key right?

Another reason I really enjoy this job is getting to see all the great beaches I would have never ventured to otherwise. Each beach we went to is unique in its own way! After we sampled Sunny Beach we continued to head back south towards Nanaimo and sampled beaches on the way. We stopped to sample at Milner Gardens, the Community Park in Parksville, and Departure Bay. While sampling these beaches it was very quiet and no one was around! The tide was also so low that we could barely see where the water started, this made measuring tidal height take a bit longer, especially in the dark! Once we finished everything, we made our way back to the VIU campus and arrived around 3:00am.

We had a really great night, and sampling is always fun! I am looking forward to more sampling, learning, and seeing new places!