The Pacific Salmon Foundation is collaborating with Dr. Sherryl Bisgrove's team, including Dr. Liam Coleman and Silven Read, at Simon Fraser University. They are focusing on conservation of marine habitats in the Salish Sea, particularly kelp forests. These important ecosystems are used by salmon at multiple stages in their lives as both habitat and foraging grounds. Kelp forests are of great interest to many local marine scientists at present because they have been observed to be rapidly declining - they have already lost about 80% of historic local populations in many places on the west coast of North America. This is likely being driven largely by warming oceans.
To mitigate further kelp losses, the Bisgrove team are working to establish a novel biobank for kelp and other marine plants. A biobank is a facility where reproductive material of organisms such as kelp can be stored long-term and later used for a variety of purposes, such as restoring populations or contributing to ongoing research. As part of this biobank project, Dr. Bisgrove’s team is researching cutting-edge cryopreservation methods to improve how kelp samples are stored, as well as conducting experiments to characterize how much variation there is in thermotolerance in local kelp populations, which will tell researchers which kelp populations are likely to survive at different temperatures. It is the hope of Dr. Bisgrove and her team that the biobank and the research being conducted for it will help save local kelp forests, improve salmon recovery, and aid future restoration programs.
Here the team shares about their work:
You can also check out this article that goes into more detail the projects, and see this newsletter that features this work.
To contact the SFU team, please email Dr Liam Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.