An Evaluation of Extinction-Risk Criteria for Pacific Salmon Conservation Units

The objective of this research project is to improve the definition of extinction-risk for Pacific salmon species by determining which extinction-risk criteria best reflect the chance of quasi-extinction (extremely low abundance) for the individual conservation units (CUs), which are spatially-defined management units. Two sets of evaluation criteria will be used; those developed for Canadian biota by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and another set developed by the intern.

Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) of the Central and North coast of BC

Sandhill cranes are a blue-listed (vulnerable) species in BC, requiring special management of their habitat. Very little is known about the coastal population of cranes or their habitat requirements in BC. The intern will work with the BC Ministry of Environment to conduct an inventory to locate Sandhill cranes and their nests on the central and north coast. Nesting and foraging sites will be characterized in field studies using variables relevant to the biology of the species and to forest management.

Estimating Abundance and Other Population Parameters for Harlequin Ducks

Harlequin Ducks were marked with individually numbered tags over a 12 year period. In each year, new birds were marked and some of the older birds were resighted. Based on the pattern of when these marks are seen, important parameters such as the abundance, survival rates, and migration rates of the ducks can be estimated. The study undertaken by the intern has a number of unique features (e.g.

Predicting suitable habitat for deep-sea corals in BC

Although the existence of deep-sea coral reefs has been known for centuries, it is only in the last decade that interest and understanding of these ecosystems have increased. There is a growing concern about the diversity and magnitude of anthropogenic (human) threats to these fragile habitats. Bottom trawling poses by far the largest threat. These corals are in need of protection, but a lack of basic information on the distribution and extent of deep sea corals in BC is constraining managers’ ability provide this protection.

Network Architecture for the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Array

Kintama Research Corporation is the developer of the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking (POST) acoustic tracking array, which monitors the continental shelf and major river systems in the west coast of North America. This array provides measurements on the marine movements and survival of Pacific salmon and other fish. Kintama is interested in the design of a network architecture to allow near real-time remote access to the underwater hydrophones sited on bridges or other fixed structures along the rivers.

Mathematical and statistical synthesis of sea lice and salmon population dynamics in the Broughton Archipelago

The David Suzuki Foundation, a science-based Canadian environmental organization, and an intern from the University of Alberta will analyze data on sea lice and Pacific salmon population dynamics using mathematical and statistical techniques.

Evaluating Harvest Management Procedures for Spatially-structured Fish Populations

Many fish populations have spatial structure which is not explicitly recognized in assessment or management. For example, Pacific herring are managed as five discrete stocks in BC, but there is evidence of both regional and within-stock diversity that may determine the capacity of the five large stocks to sustain themselves over time. This spatial structure is maintained by movement of fish among and between sub-populations within the greater, coast-wide metapopulation.

Optimizing Stocking Strategies for Rainbow Trout in Mixed Species Lakes

The goal of this project is to develop a method of estimating optimum stocking strategies in mixed species lakes in collaboration with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, a non-profit organization which works in partnership with the provincial government to deliver the fish stocking program as well as providing conservation fish culture services. The growth and survival of stocked fish will be estimated across a range of initial sizes, trout densities and competitor fish densities.

Investigating the Molecular and Physiological Controls on the Bio-geographical Distribution of Phytoplankton Taxa using General Circulation Models

Computer simulations of the complex physical and chemical composition of the oceans are used to study how the ocean affects, and is affected by, climate. These models are essential to understanding how Earth’s climate is likely to change in the next century. This internship project proposes, in partnership with Environmental Proteomics, a company which provides products and services for the quantitative analysis of proteins, to add information about photosynthetic organisms to these models in an effort to understand how the physics of the oceans affects the ecology of phytoplankton.

Influence of Viruses on Marine Prokaryotes in Canada's Arctic Waters

Viruses are an abundant and dynamic component of marine microbial communities. The project will use information encoded in the genomes of viruses and their bacterial hosts to obtain a measure of the number of different types of viruses and bacterial species in Canadian Arctic waters. Additionally, the project will focus on the relationship between viral and bacterial communities by trying to identify patterns in their geographical distribution in response to changing environmental conditions such as temperature or salinity.