It’s the first field season for the Centre for Shellfish Research’s Canada Research Chair, Dr. Sarah Dudas, research program and things are in full swing taking advantage of the amazing low tides we’ve had lately. Her research program is focused on advancing sustainable industry development, and our understanding of shellfish aquaculture-ecosystem interactions. The short-term goals are to examine interactions between aquaculture activities and coastal ecosystem components. Longer-term goals are to facilitate monitoring programs that address industry needs and enable the observation of unexpected changes.
Dr. Dudas, along with her team of undergraduate research assistants and volunteers, has been establishing several research activities around Baynes Sound and Nanaimo. These include:
- Biodiversity surveys – being conducted at several sites around Baynes Sound to compare biological communities at lease and non-lease sites
- Mark-recapture experiment – being conducted on one lease to compare survival and growth under different conditions (e.g. clean anti-predator netting, fouled netting and no netting)
- Shellfish and sediment experiment – being conducted at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station lease and in the lab to determine how different densities and species of shellfish influence the sediment in which they live (i.e. in the same way that crops affect the soil on land)
- Barnacle and mussel recruitment and temperature monitoring – being conducted at several sites in Baynes Sound to examine recruitment and temperature patterns over space and time
- Olympia oyster recruitment monitoring – being conducted at several sites in Baynes Sound, Nanaimo and Ladysmith to determine natural levels of native oyster recruitment
Keep an eye out for them at low tide! If you happen across an experiment in your beach explorations please leave it undisturbed. If you’d like to learn more or are interested in volunteering please feel free to contact Dr. Dudas at Sarah.Dudas@viu.ca or 250-740-6132
See you in the field!
That’s Sarah on the right with the big smile 🙂