Despite the restrictions of a pandemic the work of Hakai Institute has continued at a considerable pace. In the past we were able to come together for an annual Research Exchange – a day-long festival of informal talks that were a lot of fun and offered us an opportunity to communicate and collaborate. A 2020 version of the Research Exchange day is not possible given the current safety measures. In its stead, Christina and Eric have decided to host monthly virtual Town Hall Meetings through the Quadra Centre. You can think of each Town Hall Meeting as equivalent to what would have been a single session at our previous gatherings.
“Genomics” was chosen as our first topic and led by Matt Lemay and Colleen Kellogg of Hakai Institute on September 17, 2020.
Most scientists agree that the biosphere is experiencing a
biodiversity crisis – loss of diversity, and reorganization of ecological
systems from local to global scales. One of the most intense controversies in
ecological science in the recent decade has centered on whether the data from
biodiversity observation programs actually shows biodiversity loss! Data on
biodiversity does not convincingly show a decline in the number of species in
many places on the planet, and this finding has spurred serious criticism and
debate over how we observe and compare biodiversity measurements. At a time
when institutes and governments are investing major resources into biodiversity
monitoring, it is essential that we solve these observation problems so our
observations are not controversial in the future!
Our biodiversity observations at Hakai present a unique
opportunity to develop and refine statistical and sampling approaches to most
rigorously observe biodiversity and biodiversity change. We are in a position
to develop standard-setting protocols and guidelines for how to observe
biodiversity change, and how to learn from these observations. We will achieve
this by engaging with partners who use and collect biodiversity data for
assessments, and by identifying best practices that balance rigor with
The research problems central to this project are:
How is biodiversity changing across scales of
How can be most effectively integrate classic
methods and emerging technologies to robustly detect and attribute biodiversity
Coastal Restoration: Working at the boundaries of systems
Apr 14 - Apr 14, 2020, University of British Columbia
Coastal Restoration: Working at the boundaries of systems
Coastal regions are some of the most populated on Earth and have experienced profound changes through human history. Degradation in recent decades is widespread, and restoration through new and traditional techniques is on the rise. The purpose of this workshop will be to share knowledge, methods, and challenges across the primary coastal restoration types: terrestrial, intertidal, freshwater, and marine. These four systems are interconnected, with constant feedbacks among them: cultural uses, resource flows, disturbance effects, and wildlife movement. In particular the deep human connections with coastal ecosystems has created intertwined needs amongst ecological, cultural, economic, and social systems, and restoration projects in these regions reflect that complex cross-boundary dynamic. Restoration actions are often constrained to closed geographic boundaries and focused on single ecosystem types, with limited information and knowledge sharing among key groups. Effective coordinated restoration will be essential to the health of our coastal communities, and this can only be achieved through active conversation and collaboration across many disciplines and practices. We are bringing many voices to the table, including government agencies, local practitioners, First Nations knowledge holders, and scientists.
Kelp Mappers Meeting
Apr 1 - Apr 2, 2020, The Nature Conservancy California & Hakai Institute
Research community updates and synthesis manuscript draft
Kelp forests are one of the defining features of Pacific coastline of North America and form the foundation of the nearshore ocean ecosystem. Off the Pacific Coast, we are witnessing loss of kelp forest to varying degrees, and in some cases catastrophic. Collaboration and communication throughout the science, research, and resource management communities along the Pacific Coast is critical to advancing our understanding of the status of kelp forest health and distribution. Improving the quality and accessibility of remote sensing data and data products, as well as creating awareness for the suite of available tools for the most complete understanding of kelp ecosystems is a critical first-step in improving how we conserve and manage these systems. The Nature Conservancy California, along with the Hakai Institute, is working to bring knowledge holders together to discuss the current state of kelp data, remote sensing applications, trends and drivers. The first meeting was hosted at the TNC office in San Francisco in April of 2019.
understanding patterns of long-term ecological change
Global change remains
a substantial and often unsettling challenge for the conservation and
management of marine resources. Although typically framed as an exercise in
peering into a crystal ball to understand the future, we often forget that we
have already lived through many decades of climate-driven ecological change.
Ecological patterns in the recent past provide an excellent opportunity to
better understand both the types of ecological change that we might expect in
the future along with the mechanistic underpinnings of these changes.
We plan to spend 2.5
days to assess the state of the field with regards to historical ecology in
coastal British Columbia and Washington, determine what ecological and
environmental time series are already available, and identify historical
records that are ripe for resurveys later in 2020. Building upon this
foundation, we will generate and begin to test hypotheses that can addressed
using historical data. We will also begin to develop a manuscript that will
synthesize patterns of ecological change, particularly in intertidal systems in
1) Compile a database of existing
ecological and environmental data for BC and WA;
2) Establish ecological metrics
(distribution, abundance, zonation, etc.) and species (mussels, kelps, urchins,
etc.) that allow for meaningful interpretation of ecological patterns in light
of documented environmental change;
3) Identify survey priorities to
determine present-day values for sites with available historical (but not
4)Structure a manuscript or
manuscripts on this topic, inclusive of a detailed outline along with some text
and figures as appropriate.
Environmental Stewardship Technician Training Workshop
Feb 24 - Feb 25, 2020, Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC)
Estuaries and coastal wetlands comprise less than 3% of BC’s coastline, yet they support over 80% of BC’s coastal fish and wildlife, and provide critical rearing and staging habitat for Pacific salmon. Climate change impacts are expected to significantly impact estuary ecosystems through a number of mechanisms, including rising sea-levels, ocean acidification, temperature and salinity changes, changes to freshwater and sediment inputs.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) and our partners in the West Coast Conservation Land Management Program1 has secured funding under the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund to implement a five year project to improve estuary habitat to enhance the long-term sustainability and health of wild BC fish stocks. Working with Coastal First Nations and research partners such as the Hakai Institute and Simon Fraser University, the project takes a two-pronged approach:
1) Conducting monitoring and research assess estuary resilience to sea-level rise at 15 sites on Vancouver Island, the central coast and Haida Gwaii.
2) Implementation of several major ecological restoration projects that restore core estuarine abiotic processes in Years 4 and 5.
This meeting is the first of several that will bring partner Coastal First Nations together to provide classroom- and field-based training on monitoring equipment, sampling protocols, and health and safety considerations associated with the study. This gathering will also provide a forum for networking and for participants to learn from one another and exchange knowledge and ideas.
1 The West Coast Conservation Land Management Program is a multi-partner program that includes Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Operations, Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Nature Trust of BC, and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
Coastal Watersheds Collaboration Meeting
Feb 21 - Feb 21, 2020, Ecofish
On January 15, 2020, staff of Tula Foundation/Hakai Institute (Hakai) and Ecofish Research Ltd. (Ecofish) had a conference call to discuss ways in which the respective organizations could potentially work together on applied conservation projects in British Columbia. Aspects discussed included environmental monitoring and monitoring program design, spatial analysis and technological innovation, applications of environmental DNA (eDNA) to biodiversity monitoring, eulachon population assessment, human resources and training, and salmon, forestry and coastal watershed assessments. During the discussion it was realized that the respective organizations have many overlapping interests and skill sets and have complimentary organizational objectives that may allow collaboration on delivery of large applied conservation projects. The scope of the meeting at the Quadra Centre for Coastal Dialogue on February 21st is to follow up this successful conference call with an in-person meeting to facilitate continued discussions as well as to propose a specific project that the organizations could work on together.
Prior to the Hakai and Ecofish discussion, each organization had been independently working with (or in discussions with) the Nanwakolas Council and the Coast Area Research Section of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) on implementation of aspects of a Priority (or Experimental) Watersheds Monitoring Program. A key objective of this proposed watersheds program is to better understand potential effects of forestry, climate change and other stressors on salmon populations and watershed functioning in coastal B.C., which would then be used to inform watershed management. Therefore, one of the key purposes of this meeting is to discuss how Ecofish and Hakai could support Nanwakolas and FLNRORD in achieving this objective. Jordan Benner of Nanwakolas Council will also be in attendance and will speak to this specific application. Note that a follow up meeting is already scheduled for February 24th in Nanaimo with members of FLNRORD who cannot attend the Quadra Island meeting.
BC SRIF Estuary Resilience Working Group
Feb 12 - Feb 14, 2020, Nature Trust
· Data management roles and
formats and transmission
storage and implementation
· List of follow up and action items
resulting from technical discussions
Wuikinuxv Researcher Gathering
Feb 3 - Feb 5, 2020, Wuikinuxv Nation Stewardship Office
The Wuikinuxv Nation Stewardship Office is hosting a gathering that will connect researchers to
one another and to Wuikinuxv Stewardship staff. From this gathering we aim to build a more
connected and focused research network for Wuikinuxv territory. Through this network we aim
to ensure research efforts in our territory support land- and marine-use policies and decision-
Wuikinuxv Stewardship Office has three goals for this gathering:
1. the Wuikinuxv Nation will have more input earlier on in the scope and development of research
2. research happening in our territory to be focused on Wuikinuxv’s priorities for stewardship of our
3. participating researchers will identify opportunities for collaboration including convergences across
projects to leverage data, funding, and capacity.
Seagrass Data Analysis Retreat
Nov 22 - Nov 24, 2019, UBC & Hakai Institute
During this data analysis retreat we
bring together a multi-year dataset collected by the O’Connor lab (UBC), and
supporting data form the Hakai Institute and the Parfrey lab. Our goals are to:
1) integrate data, 2) establish an analytical approach to tackle core research
questions and 3) collaborate on manuscripts and data products. Ultimately,
these analyses will inform our knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by
seagrass habitats, their management, and chart the path for future seagrass
research in B.C.
We will provide updates on each of the
>8 manuscripts in progress or in development using Hakai data from
2015-2018. Some manuscripts need minor revisions and feedback, while others
need greater development. Our main objective will be to identify synergies and
opportunities for collaboration, and to scope and draft a synthesis manuscript
that includes observations from the coastal habitat monitoring program over the
last 5 years.
Nov 4 - Nov 8, 2019, Hakai Institute
The 2019 Geospatial workshop is aimed at reviewing and discussing the state of Geospatial operations at Hakai Institute. We will hold sessions throughout the week to plan for 2020, discuss how we can build more efficiency into the work we do, and generally improving the overall Geospatial operation. Discussion will focus on field safety protocols, data collection methodologies, data processing techniques, project management, reporting, database management, data integration, GIS workflows, and ongoing collaborations. We will discuss the future of remote sensing, new technologies and techniques, and how we will stay at the leading edge of the Geospatial field. We expect to have a number of specific outcomes that will be scheduled for completion during the workshop.
The Hakai Geospatial team is dedicated to working with community and research partners to collect, analyze, and distribute spatial data. We address scientific questions from icefields to oceans by using a combination of remote sensing techniques, including: airborne images collected from satellites and drones; airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) collected from aircraft; 3D terrain models collected from drones; and underwater acoustic data (bathymetry and habitat mapping) collected from a hydrographic survey vessel. We use different processing techniques to create analysis ready mapping products.
B.C. Kelp Mapping Analytical Working Group
Oct 16 - Oct 16, 2019
The BC Kelp Mapping Analytical Working
Group brings together a team of researchers and analysts to provide
knowledge, carry out analyses, and deliver data on the distribution,
productivity and health of canopy-forming kelps in British Columbia (BC). This
important foundation species has been identified as a focal point for the
implementation of the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast
(MaPP)’s EBM Monitoring Program.
The objectives of this Working Group are
driven by MaPP’s Regional Kelp Monitoring Program, and stem from the April 2019
Regional Kelp Workshop (Richmond, BC). The Working Group brings together a
group of technical experts from the following core collaborating initiatives:
the Hakai Institute, the University of Victoria’s Remote Sensing Lab, DFO,
Parks Canada and the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast
The specific goal of structured meetings
in Fall 2019 is to advance a number of common goals related to quantifying kelp
distribution, biomass and productivity on the North Pacific Coast in order to
inform regional kelp management and monitoring.
Biochemical Methodologies for Measuring Zooplankton Production
Oct 11 - Oct 14, 2019, PICES, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization
PICES, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization, is an intergovernmental scientific organization that was established and held its first meeting in 1992. Its present members are Canada, People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States of America.
The purposes of the Organization are as follows:
Promote and coordinate marine research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas especially northward of 30 degrees North
Advance scientific knowledge about the ocean environment, global weather and climate change, living resources and their ecosystems, and the impacts of human activities
Promote the collection and rapid exchange of scientific information on these issues
Following on the success of the practical workshop on “Production methodologies and measurements for in situ zooplankton’, which was co-hosted by PICES Working Group 37 and Yokohama National University, we propose a second practical workshop that focuses on biochemical methods. PICES Working Group 37, Ocean Networks Canada and the Hakai Institute will jointly host this second workshop.
There are several anticipated deliverables of this workshop:
About 10 Canadian and international scientists will be exposed to Hakai Institute’s Quadra Island field station where new zooplankton production techniques will be taught and learned.
This workshop is a partial fulfillment of one of PICES Working Group 37’s terms of reference.
This would enhance collaborative opportunities, particularly between ONC and Hakai.
The ArchaeoEcology Project at Quadra Island
Oct 7 - Oct 12, 2019, Santa Fe Institute Working Group
Building on the momentum of the ongoing ArchaeoEcology Working Group that has met at the Santa Fe Institute starting in 2017, participants are convening at the Hakai Institute on Quadra Island, British Columbia to spend a week intensively working with other participants to advance the project. The ArchaeoEcology Project examines the ways that pre-industrial humans manipulated the biotic environment for food, clothing, shelter, ritual and other purposes. A key goal of the project is to develop a multi-interaction ecological network framework for new data compilation and analysis. By developing and comparing examples from the archaeological past where we know the trajectories of coupled natural-human systems, we are laying the foundations for a new research agenda useful for exploring the sustainability of past, present and future systems.
At this meeting participants will spend time analyzing data, working on several papers that are in progress, and discussing next steps for the project. Several high-profile synthetic papers are well underway, including one that examines how archaeological data can be useful for studying the modern world. Following three prior meetings at SFI, the group is meeting at Quadra Island, hosted by the Hakai Institute, which serves two purposes. First, it allows us to further cement ties with the Northwest North American Coast contingent of the working group and the Hakai Institute. Second, it will provide working group participants firsthand exposure to one of our key study systems.