I am a research biologist interested in coastal ecology and conservation. Recently, I have been examining the interconnectedness of marine, aquatic and terrestrial systems through cross-boundary nutrient subsidies. My M.Sc. research at Simon Fraser University (SFU) involved studying predator-prey interactions between bears and salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest. I am also passionate about marine invertebrate behaviour and ecology. I am currently the lab manager and research associate for the Salmon Watersheds Lab at SFU (Jon Moore's group).
I love what I do! I specialize in logistics, project management, efficiency in research, problem solving, wilderness safety/first aid, public outreach, teaching and engaging students, working with multiple stakeholders, experimental design, data management/analysis and ecological modelling. I also have an extensive background in conference organization and a broad range of field, laboratory, administrative and leadership experience in government, industry, academia and community outreach programs.
Crab Trap Video Capture
Belcarra, BC, Canada | 2018
Have you ever wanted to see how long it takes crabs to be find a newly available food source? what type of crabs? how many? and does this vary with substrate type? We aimed to explore just that with some special traps I threw together to hold herring bait on a stage, monitored with a GoPro Camera. I've included a highlight of a seal vs. crab moment below (skip to 1:39 for arrival of seal). Enjoy!
Salmon egg subsidies and interference competition among stream fishes
Port Hardy, BC, Canada | 2016 - 2018
Resource availability may modulate interference interactions among competitors. For example, competition among stream fishes for drifting eggs from salmon Oncorhynchus spp. spawning events may be influenced by the availability of this energy-rich food source. This study used a large-scale field experiment to examine varied levels of prey availability (i.e. pink salmon (O. gorbuscha) eggs) and quantify interference competition within natural stream fish communities. Aggressive interactions were quantified across different levels of egg additions, ranging from 6 to 3,575 O. gorbuscha eggs, at 13 sites on the Keogh River, British Columbia, Canada. There were less aggressive interactions among salmonids (O. kisutch, O. mykiss, and O. clarkii clarkii) when there were more available eggs. Aggressive interaction rates were species-dependent; for example, the number of aggressions relative to null expectations based on abundances were highest in juvenile coho (O. kisutch) towards conspecifics. For some interactions, size appeared to be a key factor as well. Thus, higher densities of spawning salmon in streams may provide sufficient prey resources in the form of eggs to temporarily decrease interference competition among stream fishes. Supplementary sample videos are included below for your viewing pleasure!
Predator-Prey Interactions and Nutrient Subsidy
Bella Bella, BC, Canada | 2013-2016
My M.Sc. research examined how stream characteristics could provide refuge for spawning salmon and, therefore, influence the type of prey captured by bears (i.e. size-biased predation), as well as the amount of flesh consumed on each catch before abandonment. These interactions have consequences on the size of individuals in salmon populations as well as terrestrial nutrient subsidies. For example, large woody debris and undercut banks were associated with less size-selective predation and with more consumption of each salmon caught. For mechanisms, models and implications, check out my publications. This research highlighted the importance of habitat heterogeneity and large predators in an ecosystem-wide conservation approach that aims to maintain biodiversity. Featured in the SFU Faculty of Science Research Highlights
Marine Invertebrate Zoology
Bamfield, BC, Canada | 2016
In the spring of 2016, I was the teaching assistant for the Marine Inveterate Zoology field course run by Dr. Wonham and Dr. Hart at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. It was six weeks packed with ocean adventures, tide pool exploration and collecting and caring for hundreds of marine invertebrates in our sea tables. The students were amazing and came up with some really cool project ideas with great results. We also managed to accomplish several surveys on sea star wasting disease in the area.
Describing Energy Transfer from Pink Salmon to Steelhead
Port Hardy, BC, Canada | 2016 - 2017
The project involved fly-fishing for pink salmon, collecting their eggs, releasing those eggs in restricted habitats, filming feeding behaviour of various freshwater stream fishes and finally, capturing these juvenile fish and collecting their gut contents before releasing them back into the river. Colin Bailey is studying how stray salmon eggs from spawning events are divvied up between various species of fish in the Keogh River. What interactions and behaviours determine successful feeding among these species and how can the number of returning salmon influence who gets to eat?
River Network Temperature and Rainfall Harvesting
Thompson River Watershed, BC, Canada | 2016 - 2017
Over the last two years, I've assisted Kyle Chezik with his study on agents of stability in freshwater riverine ecosystems. Kyle has over 100 HOBO temperature loggers installed throughout the Thompson River watershed, all of which need to be located, retrieved, and replaced every year. We also collected rain, river and snow samples throughout the watershed for isotope analysis to determine how much the of the river flow is composed of rainwater and how much is attributed to melting snow/ice.
Dispersal and Movement of Intertidal Invertebrates
Bamfield, BC, Canada | 2015
I helped Ainslie Mcleod study the dispersal patterns of Nucella ostrina, the northern striped dogwinkle. Using RFID trackers, attached to the sea snails, we located, recorded and tracked their movement through a large grid set up in the intertidal zone on beautiful Prasiola Point near Bamfield, BC. Ainslie was examining which environmental factors may motivate movement and the types of prey chosen by the sea snails.
Terrestrial and Freshwater Conservation
Bamfield, BC, Canada | 2015
In the summer of 2015, I was the teaching assistant for the terrestrial and freshwater conservation field course run by Dr. Reynolds at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. It was an amazing three weeks of exploring old and secondary growth forests, measuring stream characteristics, trapping and identifying benthic macroinvertebrates, doing point counts, identifying plant species across various habitats and skipping rocks! I was also responsible for teaching and running workshops on statistics and using R software to analyze and illustrate data. We were lucky to have Andy Mackinnon join us as a guest to teach about forest measurement practices as well as the differences between old and secondary forest growth. We also spotted a rare Vancouver Island marmot living on campus and assisted in his safe return to a mountain colony in the Nanaimo Lakes Region.
Bella Bella, BC, Canada | 2013-2014
I was part of a dedicated crew who counted spawning pink, chum and coho salmon in dozens of remote streams in Heiltsuk First Nation territory in the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of British Columbia. These streams are only accessible by boat and were home to wolves, eagles, black bears and grizzlies who utilized the salmon as a valuable seasonal food source. There were also tons of wandering wooly bear caterpillars and amazing fungi to be observed. This work was incredibly rewarding and was done in collaboration with the Heiltsuk First Nation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and members of the John Reynolds' research group.