The summer of 2017 I had the privilege of being hired as a research technician at the UBC Open Water Research station in conjunction with The Vancouver Aquarium and The UBC Marine Mammal Research Unit. This photo is of me and one of my four stellar coworkers Yasha! She is a Steller sea lion. This station was established in in Port Moody, BC in 2003 to bridge the gap between the logistical limitations of field studies and the physical constraints of traditional work in an aquarium. This was the only facility in the world that performs unrestrained open-water dives to depths experienced by Steller sea lions in the wild. Unfortunately it closed down late last year due to funding cuts. The Open Water Research Station was a floating facility designed to study free-swimming seals and sea lions. Our goal at the Open Water Lab was to conduct research that ultimately helps the wild population of Steller sea lions. We tested the hypothesis that sea lions are not obtaining enough food, and how their nutritional needs are affected by time of year and the distribution of their prey. We are also developed and tested new research techniques to take to the field. A list of publications associated with The UBC Open Water Research Station can be found on this link when you query "Steller sea lions": http://mmru.ubc.ca/publications/ #SaveVancouverAquarium

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Erin Van Breda
May 14, 2020

What an amazing opportunity to have been apart of!