Our guides are always learning! Continued education keeps our guides knowledge base growing and ultimately improves guest experience. Locally, the Raincoast Education Society consistently provides exceptional programs in our community. Guide Satch Robertson shares a bit about his Seaweeds of the West Coast Course.
“Seaweeds of the West Coast presented by Raincoast Education Society and marine biologist Katy Hind was an educational journey through Clayoquat sounds diverse intertidal zone. The workshop involved an introduction to biodiversity and ecology of local seaweeds, identification, conservation efforts and human relationships with algae.
The incredibly knowledgeable Katy gave a series of lectures delving into the complex and diverse world of algae. Shortly after the group geared up for a day of fieldwork on Frank Island. In groups of two, we scoured the intertidal collecting any species that could not be identified on site. In total we collected 32 different species which would later be Identified using a dichotomous key and many other resources such as guide books, algae base and a number of emerging applications specifically designed for algae identification. The samples consisted of brown, red and green algae which were then examined under microscopes and pressed to preserve DNA and aesthetics over time. Seaweed is very easily pressed using ventilation and pressure ultimately extracting H2O creating beautiful art and a useful resource for identification.
I found this course to be eye opening in terms of the vast biodiversity that exists solely in the intertidal zone. A zone that experiences so many different stresses from being sun baked for up to 12 hours to being hammered by rough seas. The fact that so many seaweed species exist and thrive in this environment is amazing. Not only do seaweeds provide marine species with shelter, food, and a host to live on, but they are incredibly useful to humans in so many ways.
Seaweeds may have a negative connotation and be seen as invasive species, yet the role they play as ecosystem engineers is something few people are informed about. Whether it's getting out there and looking at the shear beauty of algae or exploring new foods through identifying tasty seaweeds, the world of algae is all around us.”