West coast expedition explores deep sea habitat never seen before

Life is teaming around seamounts not seen before. (Photos supplied)

By Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Deep under the ocean’s surface off the west coast of Vancouver Island lies a mountain range of around 50 underwater volcanoes, measuring from 1,000 to 3,000 metres high. These seamounts, as they’re more accurately named, are here for the same reasons there are earthquakes and tsunamis along British Columbia’s coast, said Cherisse Du Preez, head of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) deep-sea ecology program. “We have tectonic activity that is very active and very close to shore,’’ she said. “It’s like the Rocky Mountains down there.’’ On June 16, Du Preez and a team of researchers embarked on an ambitious three-week deep-sea expedition to study and monitor these ecosystems. The collaborative expedition between DFO, the Council of the Haida Nation,…

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