If the mussels, clams, oysters and crabs of Baynes Sound could talk, they would tell a story that spans 400 million years.
They would spin a yarn about Vancouver Island's original human population â the innovative First Nations people who relied on them for food. They would tell tales about what it takes to keep the ecosystem clean â a key task for shellfish, which are essentially the self-powered filters of sea. And they would undoubtedly discuss the precarious future of the environment, and shellfish's relationship to it. But since these miraculous marine creatures cannot speak, Vancouver Island University's new, multi-million dollar Deep Bay Marine Field Station is encouraging others to speak for them. The Station, near Qualicum Beach, is a stunning clamshell-shaped structure that gazes over the waters of Baynes Sound; it is an architectural triumph, honoured with a 2011 National Green Buildings Award. At this facility, aquaculture research is treated the same way land-based agricultural field research has been done for years. The building also functions as a marine science museum with huge aquariums up to nine-metres (30-feet) long, jellyfish tank, touch-tanks and skeleton of a ten-metre (32 foot) grey whale. Here, children and adults can plunge â educationally speaking â into the world beneath the ocean and explore the marine life the planet depends on. www.viu.ca/deepbay
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