Aug 9, 2019

Underwater volcano expedition off coast of Vancouver Island reveals hidden world

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In the cold waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island, scientists have found a hidden oasis teeming with corals, sponges, and creatures more typical of warmer waters to the south.

The discovery is among the most significant finds from a two-week trip conducted by researchers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations and other partner organizations. The expedition dropped a camera on a cable down about 2,000 metres into the depths as part of an examination of Explorer Seamount, Canada’s largest underwater volcano.

“We found a coral garden that is like something you would see in the tropics, with a large coral community home to fish and octopus like everything you would expect to see in Hawaii, but you find it here in Canada deep below the surface where the sun doesn’t reach,” said Dr. Cherisse Du Preez, marine biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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