Insight into killer whale habitat quality

British Columbia’s (BC) resident killer whales are listed under the Species At Risk Act as ‘threatened’ and ‘endangered’ for the northern and southern residents, respectively. Contaminants have been recognized as one of the main threats affecting the survival and recovery of these populations. This project will look at the levels of contaminants of concern in sediment samples collected from killer whale habitat. Sediment has been used around the world to evaluate pollutant inputs and distribution in aquatic environments as it can be both a contaminant ‘sink’ and a ‘source’ for adjacent food webs. As part of Ocean Wise’s PollutionTracker program, sediment samples have been collected at over 50 sites along the BC coast. This project is a great opportunity for Ocean Wise to compile and use the data that has been collected since 2015 and provide invaluable information on the source, transport and fate of contaminants of priority concern for the endangered southern resident killer whales.

Faculty Supervisor:

Tanya Brown


Jun-Woo Kim


Ocean Wise


Environmental sciences



Simon Fraser University



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