Tofino Wildlife Vol. 6 Bull Kelp & Seafoam

Over the coming weeks West Coast Aquatic Safaris will present a compilation of information on the wildlife of the Pacific Rim as well as some of the flora and fauna. Today we will begin a look at Bull Kelp and Sea Foam.

Taking a cruise through the beautiful Tofino inlet is amazing. The abundance of wildlife is exhilarating and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Sometimes so breathtaking you tend to miss the simple things our ocean has to offer. Bull Kelp may be hard to miss from the surface, but under the great Pacific waters lies a jungle, important for many types of wildlife you can see on our tours. Bull Kelp is one of the fastest growing plant in the world, growing up to 2 feet per day and can grow up to 80 feet in length  all in one season (spring to fall). It attaches itself to the sea floor by its roots called a hold-fast,  attached to the bulb are long flowing blades of kelp. The bulb of a Bull Kelp is filled with carbon monoxide. Bull Kelp was once used by indigenous people to create fishing nets and is also edible to not only the wildlife, but to you and I!

Seafoam is another great sight to see during your trip in Tofino. Seafoam is simply created by any sort of wave action, formed from bodies of diatoms and flagellates. Flagellates live in colonies surrounded by gelatinous polysaccharides, and the structure of this mucus makes it subject to foaming by wave action. The silica-shelled bodies of diatoms are smashed apart by waves, and the silica and oils from their bodies create foam structure. Seamfoam can be stable for hours to days, and  tends to accumulate on beaches or drift on currents. In the sun it will turn brown or a greenish colour, leading many to think it is pollution. Seafoam is actually a great indicator of a healthy, productive ocean ecosystem, as there is a high density of phytoplankton in the water.

So during your next visit to Tofino, remember to keep your eyes peeled for these silent but important factors to our ecosystem, and our Tofino wildlife!

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