Meeting Summaries & Reports

Meeting Summaries & Reports

BC Habitat Monitoring 01/14 - CANCELLED

Jan 14 - Jan 14, 2021, MaPP

We hope that everyone had a wonderful winter break. For all of you that didn’t sleep last night because of howling winds of another ferocious Pacific storm - stay safe and warm! 

In an effort for everyone to catch up after the holidays, we are postponing our planned webinar next week (Jan. 14). Instead, we’ll pass along a group synthesis activity so that everyone can use the time to participate and contribute remotely to the web series. 

The web series will resume as scheduled on Jan. 28th. A presentation by the Hakai Institute and MaPP will focus on tools for habitat monitoring from the skies and outer space. They will discuss a variety of remote sensing tools that are currently being applied to kelp forests as well as other habitats. 

We’ve also scheduled the next 3 seminars after that: 

Feb. 11 - Seagrass monitoring by MarineGEO 

Feb. 25 - Marsh monitoring for estuary resilience by Nature Trust 

Mar. 11 - Cumulative effects monitoring by the North Coast Nations/MaPP

See you online in 3 weeks time! 

Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) Regional Kelp Monitoring to Inform Ecosystem-Based Management

Dec 10 - Dec 10, 2020, Rebecca G Martone, Gord McGee, Markus Thompson, the MaPP Partners

Graphic recording of session by Savanna Young.

Thank you for attending our session! If you didn't get the chance to do so, the summary is below and the recording of that session is HERE.

The Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) is an initiative currently being co-led by 17 First Nations and the government of the Province of British Columbia that developed and is implementing plans for marine uses in B.C.’s Northern Shelf Bioregion using an ecosystem-based management (EBM) framework. The MaPP integrated EBM monitoring work aims to improve the state of ecological and human well-being systems in the MaPP region and sub-regions by: (a) increasing understanding of the state of these systems through the integration of scientific understanding, local monitoring, and traditional ecological knowledge in reporting on selected EBM indicators; and, (b) informing collaborative decision-making and adaptive management. 

MaPP Partners identified 17 regional EBM indicators that reflect the valued components of the social-ecological system and potential stressors affecting these components. We report on the development and implementation of a coordinated regional monitoring program for one of these components: kelp. Kelp is an important ecosystem engineer and is culturally and commercially valued; yet, our understanding of status and trends in kelp ecosystems and potential drivers of change in the Northern Shelf Bioregion is limited. 

By collecting indicator data across the sub-regions using regionally consistent methodologies, the MaPP partners aim to gain a better understanding of local- vs. sub-regional- vs. regional-scale drivers of change in kelp ecosystems, which will further inform implementation of the MaPP marine spatial plans and regional action framework and help identify management actions. 

We describe our approach to collaboratively develop and implement the regional kelp monitoring program across the MaPP region including: (1) identifying collective issues, goals, and key questions; (2) developing and implementing monitoring protocols, training approaches, and coordinated data collection; and, (3) managing and analyzing data, integrating with traditional ecological understanding through regional planning, and next steps. 

The monitoring results will be brought back to First Nations communities where it will be overlaid with TUS and understanding, and applied to the Nations’ policies for aspatial and spatial management of kelp. This understanding will be brought forward into collaborative governance of kelp of MaPP partners. We also discuss the importance of the regional perspective of the program, some of the challenges we encountered, and how we overcame them.  

Additional information:

BC Habitat Monitoring Workshop 1: Intro

Nov 26 - Nov 26, 2020, MaPP

Thank you for attending our intro session! If you didn't get the chance to do so, the summary is below and the recording of that session is HERE.

The Hakai Institute and the Marine Plan Partnership, with support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are excited to announce an online workshop series focused on nearshore habitat monitoring in British Columbia, and beyond. See attached information package for more detail.

The workshop series will highlight monitoring programs in diverse nearshore ecosystems, from kelp forests to estuaries, as a means to share program objectives and encourage methodology transfer and standardization. The series aims to continue fostering a community of practice for nearshore ecosystem monitoring across BC and beyond. 

Please mark your calendars for the introductory session on Thursday November. 26, 2020, from 1:30-3:00 PM (PST) on Zoom.

Hakai Institute Town Hall Meetings

Sep 17 - Oct 22, 2020, Hakai Institute

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.

  1. September 2020 - Genomics:  
  2. October 2020 - Airborne Coastal Observatory:

Synthesizing Biodiversity

Jun 1 - Nov 27, 2020, UBC & Hakai

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 practicality.

The research problems central to this project are:

  1. How is biodiversity changing across scales of life?
  2. How can be most effectively integrate classic methods and emerging technologies to robustly detect and attribute biodiversity change? 
Download full report

Coastal Restoration: Working at the boundaries of systems

Apr 14 - Apr 14, 2020, University of British Columbia

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. 

Download full report

Harley Lab Retreat

Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2020, UBC

Documenting and 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 our region.


  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 current) data;
  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

Key Outcomes:

  • Data management roles and responsibilities
  • Data collection interface
  • Data QA/QC
  • Data formats and transmission
  • Metadata attribution
  • Data 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-making. 

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 programs; 
  2. research happening in our territory to be focused on Wuikinuxv’s priorities for stewardship of our resources; and, 
  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. 

Geospatial Workshop

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 (MaPP). 

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.