Strategic BC Salmon Health Initiative: effects of pathogens on the health and conservation of BC’s Pacific Salmon

B.C.’s Pacific salmon are in decline yet the causes are not clear. The role of disease in declining productivity is poorly understood but is potentially an important factor especially given recent controversies involving salmon farms and disease transmission to wild salmon. We have recently collected quantitative data on 47+ viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoan pathogens in >16,000 out-migrating juvenile sockeye, Chinook and coho salmon and 4,500 salmon from farms culturing Atlantic and Chinook salmon.

Evaluation of Phytosanitary Measure Efficacy Using Genomics

In recent years, globalization and increasing international traffic have allowed tree infecting micro-organisms and pests to colonize new forests and plantations. These invasions are a threat to global trade and the delicate ecological balance of our forests. Good examples are the Sudden Oak Death (SOD) outbreak caused by Phytophthora ramorum in California and the emerald ash borer in eastern Canada. Such epidemics can wreak havoc and halt international trade resulting in loss of millions of dollars.

Establish the productivity of winch-assist machines and the factors that effect it

Steep slope harvesting with machines is a recent element of the forest industry, still experimenting with winch-assist machines and the different harvesting approaches that each comprises. The aim of this research topic will compare the productivity of six different winch-assist forest harvesting operations; three in New Zealand and three in Canada. The primary goal will be to establish the productivity for each operation, and relate the different stand and terrain factors at each harvest operation.

Development of forest legacy-based mine reclamation techniques for recolonizing the soil food web and promoting vegetation establishment

The August 2014 tailings dam breach at the Mount Polley Mine, BC severely disturbed downstream forest ecosystems through erosion and tailings deposition. The impacted area presents an opportunity to research using ecosystem legacies (components that survive a disturbance) to rehabilitate disturbed sites.

Modelling wood quality and lumber recovery in variable retention stands part II

For many reasons, forest management in Canada will be constrained by ecological and social forest management objectives. Along with meeting the diverse needs of society, forest managers will need to consider increased demands for renewable resources, such as wood. Wood, as opposed to concrete and steel, has a positive impact on the global carbon cycle but is also strong enough to build large buildings. Therefore, there will be an increased demand for stronger wood in the future.

Efficacy of the plant extract CELEXT07 and the botanically derived Thymox in suppression of Cannabis fungal diseases under greenhouse production systems

The legalization of Cannabis (marijuana) is now supported by 66% of Canadian voters. Aphria Inc., was the first approved and licensed producer under the MMPR to begin growing in a greenhouse and is currently the second-largest marijuana producer in Canada. Unfortunately, Cannabis is attacked by a plethora of phytopathogens leading to a number of diseases with the most commonly reported are grey mold and powdery mildews.

Modelling partial mortality wildfire dynamics in boreal and mountain landscapes

An emerging strategy for managing natural resources such as Canada's forests more sustainably and responsibly is to use knowledge of how Mother Nature has done it to help guide our hand. This so-called ‘ecosystem-based” approach has gained favour with provincial and federal governments, as well as national and international certification agencies.

Using stable isotope analysis to investigate a food web connection between coal waste contamination and a forest community

A coal mine operating on the Snuneymuxw First Nation reserve lands between 1913 and 1939 has left mine waste that has contaminated the soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water with metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Human health and ecological assessments are being conducted in the area to determine how best to deal with the contamination in the area.

Salmon Early Marine Survival Research Program

Salmon are inarguably one of the most culturally, ecologically, and economically important fish in British Columbia, however, their stocks have been declining since the 1990’s. The Cohen Commission of Enquiry expert panel emphasized that juvenile mortality during the first months at sea was the most likely cause of fishery declines. The two leading agents of mortality are hypothesised to be food availability for growth and pathogen / parasite infection. The Hakai Institute Juvenile Salmon Program is explicitly addressing these two hypotheses.

Fibre response to temperature and precipitation variation in natural and planted stands of spruce (Picea glauca x Engelmannii) in northern interior British Columbiaa

This goal of this research project is to understand how wood fibre characteristics within planted and natural stands of spruce behave with changes to temperature and precipitation. Several methods of wood analysis will be used to determine this relationship including dendrochronology, scientifically dating tree-rings and comparing to climate, and analysis of fibre qualities, or cellular wood qualities, within samples of both natural and planted stands of spruce.

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