Marine resilience in the Anthropocene: understanding the adaptive capacity of marine social-ecological systems to change

The ocean is experiencing drastic declines in biodiversity due to the cumulative impact of human activities, including habitat loss, resource exploitation and fossil fuel emissions. These declines in species abundance and diversity have dire consequences for coastal communities whose economic and social systems depend upon healthy oceans. While global analyses of human impacts on marine ecosystems motivate international political action, often coastal communities struggle to make use of large- scale analyses in their decision-making. In this era of global and local change, research needs to be conducted at scales that are meaningful to the entities responsible for implementing local management and adaptation strategies. My research will address this challenge by creating a framework to analyze the adaptive capacity of a marine socio-ecological system to anthropogenic pressures, using a combination of natural and social science methods. With a geographic focus on a glacial fjord in the Salish Sea, Atl’ka7tsem (Squamish Nation place name for Howe Sound), I am partnering with the Squamish Nation and collaborating with local governments, stakeholders and non-profits to conduct a survey and interviews that braid Indigenous, local and western scientific knowledge systems.

Faculty Supervisor:

Christopher Harley


Fiona Beaty


Ocean Wise





University of British Columbia



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