The marbled murrelet is one of many ocean mysteries. No one knew where this secretive bird nested — until an unsuspecting tree climber stumbled on a chick in 1974. This murrelet nests on big tree limbs, not rocky coastlines like other seabirds. Strange.

The murrelet’s current mystery, though, is why this endangered species is doing well in Alaska but poorly in B.C. Maybe your sleuthing can solve this mystery and many more. New websites provide clues.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund Canada just launched It’s a flashy, love-the-oceans site, with a little save the oceans thrown in. It documents some of B.C.’s intriguing riddles — like the famous mystery of the missing feet — and invites sleuths like you to answer them.

This website takes you to an odd graveyard of shipwrecks off Vancouver Island. It shows you giant glass sponge reefs that scientists thought were extinct 30 million years ago (shocker to find them in B.C.). This site even tells of B.C. killer whales passing each other and squeaking different languages. B.C. has weird waters.

With climate change, ocean mysteries will deepen. Creatures are moving around, the sea is rising and becoming more acidic. With overfishing and pollution, it’s a strange brew out there. Species are even disappearing.

If you like brain teasers, sleuth the seas. We need the best and the brightest minds to solve ocean mysteries in the years to come.


You tell us!

Helpful websites

• Check out the new Oceans component to Google Earth. It’s free. Just download and click on Oceans in the gallery at

• New site! B.C. marine conservation and stories: It’s great for teens and adults (and teachers like me!).

• CPAWS and WWF Canada also launched an Oceans Book Club. Go to

– Kai Chan is an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES) at UBC; Carrie West is the communications co-ordinator for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. chapter.

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