Over the past years ARSBC has been consulting with marine academics and advisors on a plan to collect data on the biological changes taking place on the Annapolis over time. For over a year now a dedicated team of academics and citizen scientists has been making it happen. The study's participants include the Vancouver Aquarium, Squamish Nations, the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society and BC Parks. The federal Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) has also expressed interest in the project.
The Annapolis artificial reef was created in part to expand recreational diving opportunities which in turn would enhance economic benefits for local businesses. More importantly, by providing additional habitat structure for fish and invertebrate species, the Annapolis makes possible an increase in population of these marine animals. The Annapolis enhances the diversity and health of the marine environment we all share, replacing other habitat that has been degraded by human impact and potentially providing improved fish stocks area-wide.
We're very encouraged by the amount and diversity of marine life we've already seen on the Annapolis, which has now reached nearly 70 species of marine flora and fauna. We've seen a variety of invertebrate life including tubeworms, anemones, tunicates, hydroids and several species of shrimp. Schools of perch are common, rockfish have been sighted, as well as northern ronquils, culpins, pollock, and kelp greenlings. This is impressive, given that the ship has only been under water since April 2015. The diving community has been a great help to Project ABIS by providing their photographs and videos taken on the Annapolis to Donna Gibbs at the Vancouver Aquarium (firstname.lastname@example.org). Donna has set up a taxon (catalogue of organisms). We also hope that the diving industry and dive charters will continue to promote the program during their pre-dive briefings, and by displaying information on the Project in their dive shops and by sharing information by email.
The mechanics of marine life monitoring on such a large and complex structure can be complicated, but there are ways to simplify the process. One of the critical pieces of information is to landmark as precisely as possible where on the ship pictures and videos are taken. Physical structures on the ship are useful reference points, as is a record of depth and your diving position on the port or starboard side of the ship. The more specific you can be about which feature of the ship you're diving, the better. It's also helpful to make note of your distance from specific landmarks. To assist, labelled pictures of Annapolis can be found on the Bulletin Board of this website or on the ARSBC Facebook page (@ArtificialReefSocietyBC).
Click left to see the Annapolis video and divers' photo gallery on the Vancouver Aquarium website.
Annapolis Reference Photos
Attention divers! Thanks to all who have uploaded images to the Vancouver Aquarium in support of the ABIS project. To help people describe where their images are taken, here are some labelled pictures of the ship for you to use. You may also find them useful in planning future dives to Annapolis.
In July 2016 the Artificial Reef Society was awarded a BC Parks Enhancement Funding Grant to assist with the documentation of sea life on the Annapolis. With this funding we can get a dedicated core of citizen scientist divers out to the ship on a regular basis to record knowledge-based observations. This is an ongoing project and new information will be posted when available. Stay tuned!