Before Nickolai, Rick, Jamie and Stephanie presented the VENUS project to my class, I never realized how advanced scientific technology had gone underwater. Some of the things I learned are: the noise from boat engines causes the Orca whales to have to use louder “voices” to communicate with each other. Also, zoo plankton stay at the bottom of the ocean during the day and at night they come to the top to feed on plankton and then when the sun starts to rise, they dive back down into the deep ocean. Some of the things I observed about the specimens were: the soul fish, which I didn’t know was flat, had silver-brown-black coloured scales, with medium sized fins on either side, small fins underneath and little light brown coloured fringes encircling it’s body. The krill was about the size of a baby’s fist and was white with four legs per side.
Today I learned about the VENUS – Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea project. I learned that the spotted prawn lives near the Saanich Inlet and killer whales live by the Georgia Strait. Whale watchers have to be at least 100 feet away from a killer whale and turn their engine off or go by a spot they think will have whales. They have microphones and video cameras under the sea and oceans to test if there is enough food and oxygen at the bottom of the sea. Did you know that when ferries or boats go by, the whales it is really hard to communicate because it is a really big rumble and they have to talk louder? Sometimes you can go on the internet and look up live underwater cameras and hear whales and watch fish.
Today a group of scientists came and did a demonstration for both Grade 4 classes. I never could have believed that whale’s communication could be affected by boats above water! When a whale wants to find family it communicates by making sound, when the sound bounces back the whale has a rough idea of where another whale is, or the location of an object. The whales like areas where there is more space. They like to spend time in the Strait of Georgia because of its large area. How do we know? Well, with recent technology, scientists have been able to record the sound of a whale vs. the sound of a boat. What causes this to interfere with the hearing of a whale? The answer is that whales can hear a ship’s motor, a km away! So imagine how loud it is 20 metres away!
VENUS stands for Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea. There are dead zones under the sea. They are called dead zones because there is no oxygen there because there are little things called plankton and they eat all the oxygen up. Did you know that there are sharks with very, very, very sharp teeth and some with not sharp teeth at all? Did you know that the plankton’s eyes are almost as big as the plankton itself? Did you know that boats scare whales and sound like the boats are yelling? They scare the killer whales because they have to shout to one another. Did you know that the ocean is about 1100 km? Did you know that the biggest fish, not a whale, not a sea creature, weighs about 150 pounds?