Folger Passage

Folger Passage is located at the mouth of Barkley Sound, offshore Vancouver Island near Bamfield, British Columbia. The seafloor composition includes cobble, gravel, soft sandy sediment, and carbonate-rich detritus. Two instrument platforms, Folger Deep and Folger Pinnacle, are installed at Folger Passage. Folger Deep is situated at 95m depth on soft sediment at the mouth of an inlet channel while the Folger Pinnacle platform is secured to the top of a rocky reef within a rockfish conservation area at 23m depth.

This coastal zone is ideal for studies of land-ocean interactions and coastal physical oceanography. Estuarine circulation from Barkley Sound is influenced by the shelf dynamics of an eastern boundary current, creating a complex physical environment. Surface outflow drives a deep water inflow which is strongly influenced by upwelling and downwelling conditions on the nearby continental shelf. The nutrient-rich, terrestrial freshwater discharge and the nutrient-rich, cool, salty upwelled water support a diverse and abundant ecosystem.

Folger Pinnacle, located atop a shallow reef, has dense mats of sponges, ascidians and encrusting algae. There are numerous types of sessile (bottom attached) organisms including sponges, anemones, bryozoans, tunicates, and barnacles. Since this is a rockfish conservation area, there is a wide variety of rockfish (yellowtail, China, quillback, Puget Sound, black, and blue) in addition to many other fish (kelp greenling, lingcod, flatfish, wolfeels), molluscs (giant Pacific octopus, mussles, swimming scallops, and snails), and echinoderms (seastars, sea cucumbers, and urchins). An echosounder installed at Folger Deep shows evidence of a dense zooplankton community and schools of fish in the water column, while hydrophones regularly record the songs of whales and dolphins in the area.

More Information

Depths: 20-100 m
Setting: Continental Shelf
Studies: Ocean biogeochemistry, terrestrial-marine interactions, coastal processes, plankton, fish, marine mammals and other organisms

State of the Ocean Plot