Coastal Ocean Ecology

1. Land-Sea Connections on the Coastal Margin








The Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest (PCTR) has been characterized as a coastal margin hotspot due to its exceptional freshwater discharge and dissolved and particulate matter flux. Through a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes, these inputs can play a key role in marine ecosystem functioning across a range of spatial scales, from local embayments to the panarctic Riverine Coastal Domain (sensu Carmack et al., 2015). The Plankton Ecosystems laboratory conducts research into:

  • The flux of terrestrial Carbon and Nitrogen to the coastal ocean;
  • The processing and uptake of terrestrial Carbon and Nitrogen by the marine food web;
  • The role of freshwater in coastal ocean hydrodynamics, and its impact on nutrient cycling and phytoplankton productivity.

Current Lab personnel:

  • Dr. Kyra St Pierre (PDF) – linking the land and sea: nutrient fluxes from small rainforest watersheds;
  • Sadie Lye – zooplankton uptake of terrestrial material in a fjord environment;

This research is conducted in partnership with the Hakai Watersheds Observatory and the Coastal Rainforest Margins Network.

2. Spatial and temporal dynamics of phytoplankton and zooplankton in complex coastal zones 

Coastal oceans are complex environments. This is epitomized by the BC coastal ocean due to its network of coastal fjords and channels, dynamic bathymetry, and strong inputs of water and materials from both the ocean the the land. The Pelagic Ecosystems Lab is using a multi-faceted approach to understand the pelagic ecosystem response to this complex environment.

Current Lab personnel:

  • Dr. Christian Marchese (PDF) – bioregionalization of the BC coastal ocean using Sentinel-3 satellite remote sensing. In collaboration with and Hakai Institute; supported by MEOPAR and the Canadian Space Agency;
  • Patrick Pata (PhD candidate) – zooplankton provinces of the BC coastal ocean. In collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada; supported by MEOPAR; and the Canadian Space Agency;
  • Julia Fast (MSc candidate) – regional variation in the nutritional value of zooplankton communities in the BC coastal ocean.