Pacific Science Enterprise Centre

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, West Vancouver, British Columbia
What the facility does

Aquatic research in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, healthy aquatic resources and ecosystems, and habitat management and restoration

Area(s) of Expertise

The Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC) houses a suite of government, academic, First Nations, and other science practitioners in a collaborative environment designed to drive joint research work, incorporate traditional Aboriginal knowledge, and leverage the resources of multiple partners around shared goals and needs, and its oceanfront location makes it an ideal setting for aquatic research. The facility provides scientific advice on aquaculture and nutrition research, marine mammal conservation, aquatic biotechnology and risk evaluation, acoustic monitoring, and pollution toxicology.

The Centre currently serves researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) investigating areas from kelp forest productivity, large mammal collision avoidance systems, oil spill preparedness to risk assessment of fish with novel traits; citizen science collaborations in areas including glass sponges, climate change impacts and ecosystem health. In addition, educational opportunities including a science academy with the West Vancouver School board, and an education team offering on-site or in classroom programs for grades 3 to 6 with hands-on aquatic experiments, and behind the scenes laboratory tours are also available. The facility offers a small-scale hatchery to allow rearing of various stocks in fresh or saltwater; an indoor and outdoor experimental aquarium to allow for experiments to be responsibly conducted on live fish, algae, macro-plankton and shellfish. There are three stable water sources (ground, creek and saltwater) to carry out aquatic biology experiments; Veterinary and aquarium services to support research and ensure responsible animal care; six wet laboratories supporting aquaculture, fish physiology, and genomics and numerous dry laboratories supporting advanced genetics, animal health, and acoustics.

One of our key collaborators, The Coastal Ocean Research Institute (an Ocean Wise initiative), has two programs working out of PSEC: the Ocean Pollution Research Program and the Marine Mammal Research Program’s Conservation Genetics Lab. DFO and Ocean Wise investigate impacts of contaminants on the health and reproduction of the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. The Ocean Pollution Research Program has a long-running marine mammal toxicology project that is documenting the very high PCB levels in killer whales and impacts on their health. The Conservation Genetics Lab works closely with DFO Science and uses DNA analysis to better understand the conservation implications of low abundance, population subdivision and dietary specialization in killer whales and other marine mammal species.

Research Services

Diet and feed preparation for aquaculture experiments, micro-plastics identification

Sectors of Application
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Ocean industries

Specialized lab

Equipment

Function

Mesocosm Building

Mesocosm

Three 350 m3 tanks and two artificial streams, for aquatic research mimicking nature

 

Sand Filter and UV Treatment System

60 MJ per cm2 for all incoming seawater for use in tanks and streams

 

Wharf and Dock

Deep water access for boats, ships and netpens

 

Direct Digital Control (DDC) System

For automation and remote control of all aquarium life support systems in emergency scenarios

 

Acoustic Tagging and Monitoring Equipment, Hydroacoustic Technology Inc. (HTI)

Remotely deployable fish radio tagging  equipment for monitoring of fish positions in aquatic ecosystems

Outdoor Research Aquarium

4000L Outdoor Aquarium Tanks (55)

Available for oxygenated groundwater, saltwater and creek water

 

12,800L Aquarium Tanks (2)

Available for oxygenated groundwater, saltwater and creek water

 

Modern classroom

Available for E-Learning, and lectures (55 person max. seating capacity)

Marine Mammal Lab

Marine Mammal Lab

The Lab examines conservation implications of low abundance, population subdivision and dietary specialization in killer whales and other marine mammal species

Micro-plastics Lab

Micro-plastics Lab

The lab analyzes the weathering of synthetic fabrics and microfibres in laundry, as well as examining microplastics in urban wastewater, arctic food webs, and other environments

Oceanography Lab

Oceanography Lab

The lab investigates the transport and fate of natural and human-derived particles in the ocean and seafloor

Fish Physiology Lab

Fish Physiology Lab

The lab takes field samples of fish blood and analyzes them for ions, metabolites, and various hormones

Feed Preparation Lab

Feed Preparation Lab

The lab manufactures experimental feeds for research on ideal fish diet and nutritional value for human consumption.

Environmental chamber

Environmental chamber

Environmental zone to control temperature for novel species rearing

Molecular Biology Lab

Molecular Biology Lab

The lab analyzes the genetics, genomics, physiology, and behaviour of genetically distinct fish to understand how well they would survive in nature and what impacts they may have.

Analytical Chemistry Lab

Analytical Chemistry Lab

The lab researches chemical composition of feeds and fish feces, and performs proximate analyses

 

  • Artificial Reef Society of BC (ARSBC)
  • BC Center for Aquatic Health Sciences (CAHS)
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
  • Coastal Ocean Research Institute (CORI) – an Ocean Wise Initiative
  • Musqueam Nation
  • Nuytco Research Ltd
  • Pacific Salmon Foundation
  • Pacific Streamkeepers Federation
  • Seymour Salmonid Society
  • Simon Fraser University (SFU)
  • Squamish Nation
  • Subsea Society of Howe Sound
  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation
  • University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • West Vancouver School Board
  • West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society
Title URL
Government of Canada is taking action to better understand the effects of contaminants on aquatic species https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-is-taking-action-to-better-understand-the-effects-of-contaminants-on-aquatic-species-674493863.html
Ocean pollution tracked by scientists at West Vancouver lab https://www.nsnews.com/news/ocean-pollution-tracked-by-scientists-at-west-vancouver-lab-1.23180133