Community Spotlight Series: Deep Bay Marine Field Station

Our Community Spotlight Series lets you learn more about our locals and what they love about living and, in this case, researching in Parksville Qualicum Beach. This month, we’re spotlighting the Deep Bay Marine Field Station.

Marnie Branfireun - Deep Bay Marine Field Station

The Deep Bay Marine Field Station, operated by Vancouver Island University, stands as a beacon of aquaculture research and marine science education nestled in Deep Bay, along the southern reaches of Baynes Sound. Specializing in oyster research, the facility offers year-round insights into shellfish aquaculture and opens its doors to the public each summer with interactive exhibits and educational tours. This unique station not only supports academic studies but also engages the community with its marine science programs and captivating local marine life displays.

At the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, visitors can engage with marine life through touch tanks, captivating aquaria, and enlightening exhibits showcasing the diversity of local marine species. From the viewing mezzanine, observers can peek into research labs where scientists conduct studies on shellfish aquaculture, offering a glimpse into the practical applications of marine science. This facility provides a unique educational experience that merges interactive learning with a window into ongoing scientific research.

Opening hours to the public are daily - including holidays - from May 18 to September 2, 2024. Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Marnie Branfireun, the Public Education Coordinator of Deep Bay Marine Field Station showed us around. Thank you Marnie for all the incredible facts you shared with us and the behind the scenes encounters with the moonsnail, clams, starfish and your super knowledgeable colleagues!

While we were wandering through the station, we chatted with Marnie about life in Parksville Qualicum Beach, and she shared some of her favourite local spots.

What do you love about where you live?

"We have gorgeous mountains, spectacular rivers, and, of course, the ocean… all of which make our area so beautiful and provide so many ways to enjoy the outdoors. I particularly love scuba diving here."

Where do you take family and friends when they visit?

"I take them to Parksville Community Park, Coombs Market, Big Qualicum Falls and Englishman River Falls, Nile Creek, Horne Lake Caves, Spider Lake, and Qualicum Beach."

What other businesses should people see during their visit?

"Shades of Green, Arrowsmith Brewing, Realm, Salish Sea Market, Fern + Cedar, Alcove Homegrown Living, and LoveShack Libations."

What experiences make up your perfect day in PQB?

"A walk on the beach at our exceptional low tides, with ice cream from the Cone Zone, or tacos at Shore, or a walk at Moorcroft Regional Park followed by a visit to Springford Farm or Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. The best is a dive somewhere on the Nanoose Peninsula with beer and lunch after at the Rocking Horse Pub."

Deep Bay Marine Field Station, VIU

Vancouver Island Universities’ Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a shellfish research facility that is open to the public,...