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Marine Biology in Canada....

The marine life of Canada is said to be the most varied and colorful in North America. The North Pacific waters are home to more than 5,000 species of invertebrates, nearly 400 species of fish, as well as a great abundance of algae and kelp. Dungeness crabs, prawns and lingcod are also often seen in B.C. coastal waters.

The giant Pacific octopus is the most unusual animal found in these cold waters. British Columbia is also well known for its whales.

Royal BC Museum
N. Pacific Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleiniOctopuses live in all the worlds' oceans but not in fresh water. They tend to be small in warm tropical waters and larger in colder waters, such as the North Pacific. The largest octopus in the world, the giant Pacific octopus Octopus dofleini, lives in the coastal waters of British Columbia. The largest giant Pacific octopus ever caught weighed about 270 kg (600 pounds) and had an arm span of almost 10 metres (33 feet). But most are much smaller: females seldom exceed 25 kg (55 pounds) and males average less than 40 kg (88 pounds). Find out about this animal at the Royal BC Museum site.

An octopus has eight arms attached to the head around the mouth. Each arm has rows of suckers along the length of its arms. The octopus has many nerves in the arms and suckers; it can actually taste with its suckers. The giant Pacific octopus has two rows of suckers per arm and may have as many as 1,600 suckers in all.

The Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Center

Only in the past 25 years have field biologists been able to systematically study individual killer whales, their social structures, their movements, and the underwater sounds of wild populations. The researchers at the Vancouver Aquarium are attempting to fill in some of the gaps that remain in our knowledge about these and other cetaceans.


Anything regarding the British Columbian ocean such as the Pollution Page, the Neptune Undersea Observation Network, the Discovery of Marine Hydrothermal Vents, restoration of salmon habitat and other ocean info....

Educational Institutions

Dalhousie University - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Marine Biology Faculty of Science

Dalhousie University is internationally known as one of North America's most welcoming universities. Founded in 1818, Dalhousie is one of Canada's oldest universities, attracting more than 18,200 students from around the world. Located on Canada's East Coast, the university blends world-class academic programs with leading-edge research.

Help conserve the oceans. Gain a greater understanding of marine life. Research everything from giant whales down to molecular realms. If your passion is the sea, Dalhousie University is one of the best places in the world for you to study. Here, you will find world-renowned faculty who love to teach, superb facilities for education and research and incredible hands-on opportunities. Dalhousie is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia - a vibrant, cosmopolitan city by the sea.

University of British Columbia Earth and Ocean Sciences
One of the largest and most diverse departments of its kind in the world. Our research and teaching interests span the history of the Earth and the evolution of its structure from core to stratosphere. Offers undergraduate programs and research opportunities for graduate students that encompass geophysics, geological science, geological engineering, oceanography and atmospheric science.

Orcas (killer whales) B.C's killer whale population is divided into 2 distinct groups which, curiously, never mingle. Residents travel in large pods within predictable ranges and feed primarily on fish. Transients roam in smaller groups over large areas of the coast, feeding on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and other whales. The resident orca population is divided into 2 communities, each with its own geographical range. The ocean around Victoria is home to the southern resident community of 3 pods totalling 100 magnificent animals. The northern residents total 217 whales in 16 pods which patrol the Johnstone Strait, the waters of northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast. The transient killer whales comprise 30 small pods of about 160 whales and travel much further than the resident pods. Best viewing from May to October.

Pacific gray whales migrate north along the west coast of the island during March and April. They are easily accessible by boat or can be viewed from mounted telescopes in the Long beach area. Over 20,000 gray whales participate in the longest migration of any animal, some stop to feed and rest in our protected bays, while 40 to 50 grays will spend their summers feeding off Vancouver Island.

Humpback whales will thrill you to the north of Vancouver Island, at the outer edges of the Inside Passage, with their acrobatic behavior and elaborate underwater song.

Minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbor porpoises, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals and Steller's sea lions are also viewed in the waters around Vancouver Island.

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