CPAWS at the Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference in Bamfield!

  • Published on Mar 13 2012 |
  • by Leah Honka |
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One of my favourite things about working at CPAWS is getting to talk to the public about BC’s amazing wilderness - from the rugged shores and seabird colonies of the Scott Islands, to the rare and threatened grasslands of the South Okanagan, and the unique deep-sea glass sponge reefs found nowhere else in the world but right here in BC.

Last weekend, Elyse Curley, our Terrestrial Conservation Coordinator, and I were fortunate enough to travel to Vancouver Island to represent CPAWS at the Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference (PEEC). Our adventure started when we climbed aboard the M.V. Frances Barkley which ferried us and about 100 students down the inlet from Port Alberni to Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The remote setting of the conference at Bamfield’s Marine Sciences Centre allowed us to become immersed in a dynamic coastal environment and interact with undergraduate, graduate and post-doc students conducting a wide range of ecological and evolutionary research.

We attended several interesting presentations and brushed up on topics like: the effects of climate change on juvenile salmon, modeling marine ecosystem services, eutrophication in lakes and management of species at risk, and co-management scenarios in First Nations herring fisheries.

We also hosted our own presentation on Integrating Science and Advocacy using BC’s unique glass sponge reefs as a case study of how important it is for scientists to work with groups such as CPAWS to further conservation initiatives and make science more accessible to the general public. The star of the show was definitely Mr. Stinky, our glass sponge mascot (see photo below)!

Finally, the poster session, which focused on our campaign for BC’s Flathead Valley, was a great success. Many students were keen to learn more about the Flathead and what still needs to be done to protect this incredible area. We were overwhelmed with the energy and interest from this wonderful group of young scientists and look forward to collaborating with many of them in the future! 

Leah Honka, Marine Conservation Coordinator