“Coastal Scene Investigation: Using clues from intertidal diversity studies to solve ecotoxicological puzzles in the Salish Sea”
WHEN: Wednesday, March 4, 2020
TIME: 2:00 PM
WHERE: C1429, Abbotsford Campus
Marine ecosystems in the Salish Sea are subject to a variety of pollution-based disturbances that restructure the composition of the vegetative and animal communities. A prime historical example of this is the effluent discharged from pulp mills across the province, which have been shown to have substantial negative impacts on coastal biodiversity. However, as environmental regulations have become more stringently enforced and the economic drivers of pulp mills have slowed down, in some areas much of this pollution has abated. The diminishment and in some cases, elimination of such disturbances provides a unique opportunity to assess the recovery of communities once affected by the mill discharge. This also allows an opportunity to better understand how to develop successful marine habitat reclamation strategies for coastal sites when pollution inputs may also be present. To develop a marine ecosystem assessment model, we used a long-term monitoring dataset spanning three decades to study rocky intertidal communities situated around Salish Sea pulp mills in Howe Sound, Powell River and compared with sites in Prince Rupert. Using this dataset, we demonstrate how proximity to the pollution source negatively influenced the intertidal community at these sites. Next, we examine how the community composition shifts and recovers once the pollution disturbance is alleviated. Lastly, we take a specific look at which species and which life history traits are best able to survive in a disturbed environment and which species are best able to recolonize those once disturbed locations. This research provides insight into classic ecological theory, applied understanding of the impacts and implications of anthropogenic activity in marine ecosystems via ecological risk assessment, and novel methods by which to assess those industrial impacts and recommend successful reclamation and restoration strategies.
MORE ABOUT DR. BARD
Dr. Shannon Bard is the global Director of Innovation for Ausenco & Hemmera. She is a marine biologist, toxicologist, and environmental scientist and a graduate of Stanford University, Université de Nantes in France, MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic. She is the former Director of the Marine Ecotoxicology Laboratory and was an assistant professor of Environmental Science and Biology at Dalhousie University and is the founding Director of Coastal Scene Investigation which supports community engagement through participation in hands-on scientific marine research and public education programs.