Plankton Food Web Ecology

Plankton Food web Ecology is a major them of the Pelagic Ecosystem Lab. Two key projects are:

1. Hakai Coastal Initiative’s Marine Food Webs Working Group

This is a collaborative research working group that aims to understand how marine food webs operate, with a particular focus on British Columbia’s coastal ocean. The Group has a strong focus on understanding connections between the planktonic organisms that form the base of the food web, including the connections between viruses, bacteria, microbial phytoplankton, protozoa, zooplankton, and fish. Using an integrated approach, the Group is focusing on understanding how these components are connected, how the environment determines these connections, and the impact of these connections on ecosystem health, productivity and ability to provide support for factors like salmon or herring growth. Research will be focussed on high-resolution samples collected in the Strait of Georgia by the Hakai Institute’s Quadra Island ocean observatory, and supported by the station’s state-of-the-art research facilities.

The Hakai Coastal Initiative’s Marine Food Webs Working Group will be using a range of research methods. These include cutting-edge molecular approaches to identify the composition of communities, and their response to the environment, and biogeochemical approaches that can trace food web linkages and inform researchers about the nutritional quality of food sources within ecosystems, such as the quality of zooplankton as prey for fish.

Lab Personnel:

  • Dr. Jakie Maud (PDF) – zooplankton diets;
  • Dr. Caterina Rodriguez Giner (PDF) – protist community ecology;
  • Jessica Schaub – Aurelia aurita trophic ecology.








2. Plankton food-web pathways to juvenile salmon

Examining the plankton food web pathways in the Strait of Georgia and implications for the nutritional quality of prey for juvenile salmon. This project is being conducted in partnership with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Hakai Institute.

Lab Personnel:

Dr. David Costalago (PDF)