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 of an 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.
The research team is working with 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.