Kelp growing underwater

Bryozoan growing on kelp off Nova Scotia coast. Credit: Dr Robert Scheibling 

Enhancing the climate change resilience of kelp forest ecosystems and the coastal communities who rely on kelp for commercial, food, social, and ceremonial purposes.

In 2015 BC central coast First Nations communities observed expansive outbreaks epiphytic marine invertebrate called bryozoan in correlation with extreme ocean temperature anomalies (“warm blob”) in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Giant kelps were heavily encrusted by the bryozoan, causing them to sink to the seafloor and disintegrate.

This project partnership between Simon Fraser University and the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance that encompasses all four First Nations of BC’s central coast (Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/ Xai’ xais Nation, Nuxalk Nation and the Wuikinuxv Nation), will determine whether adaptive management of traditional community-based kelp harvest and herring spawn-on-kelp fisheries can minimize the negative impact of such outbreaks that can occur on Canada’s east and west coasts.

Despite travel restrictions due to COVID-19, work will continue during summer 2020.

The research team is recruiting the help of BC's Coastal First Nations communities to gather information, data and photos of kelp forests in their territories, to help document the location and timing of any bryozoan outbreaks. Resources to assist include virtual training for data and photo collection, and the creation of an online survey to share information.

Find out more in this video.

 

Opportunity Project: Began September 1, 2019 / Project Duration: Three years.

Giant kelp underwater

Research Partners

Principal Investigators

Anne Solomon

Associate Professor School of Environmental and Resource Management, Faculty of Environment, SFU

Researchers

Danielle Denley

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, SFU, and MEOPAR Postdoctoral Fellowship Award 2020-21 recipient

Alejandro Frid

Alejandro Frid

Science Coordinator/Ecologist, Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies

Students

Heather Earle

Heather Earle

MRM Candidate, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, SFU

Meredith Fraser   MRM Candidate, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, SFU

Meredith Fraser

MRM Candidate, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, SFU

Solution Seekers

  • Heiltsuk Nation
  • Kitasoo / Xai' xais Nation
  • Nuxalk Nation
  • The Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance
  • Wuikinuxv Nation