Our New Paper looking at Complementary Predation and Resilience in Kelp Forests

Happy to share that out paper titled “Sudden collapse of a mesopredator reveals its complementary role in mediating rocky reef regime shifts” is now published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B!  Below is a brief summary of the key findings and why they are important (to download this summary in PDF – click here). But first, a short video to summarize the work (and take you to the underwater world)!

Experiments to Ask: What Influences Sea Urchin Grazing Rates?

This research combines experimental and survey methods to ask: 1) What is the functional relationship between urchin density and the per capita urchin grazing rate? and 2) What measurable factors best predict in situ urchin grazing rates? In June 2014 I conducted subtidal grazing experiments at eight rocky reef sites on the central coast of BC to quantify how the abundance, size and behaviour of red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus), as well as drift abundance, wave exposure, and the presence of other algal species influence the rate of kelp loss. Here’s a little video that describes the work:

Kelp Forest Monitoring on B.C.’s Central Coast


Myself, members of SFU’s Coastal Marine Ecology and Conservation Lab, and the Hakai Institute have been working together since 2013 to monitor the ecological changes occurring on rocky reefs along B.C.’s central coast. We conduct annual dive surveys at 11 reef sites, recording fish species, invertebrate species, and kelp communities, and combine these efforts with other annual projects focused on sea otter foraging, fish capture surveys, measuring kelp productivity, and kelp mapping. Here’s a video I made in 2013 highlighting this work:

and another video I made in 2015 highlighting some preliminary results.