I seek to understand how coastal ecosystems and communities are impacted by and responding to anthropogenic (human-caused) pressures. I employ a unique combination of natural and social science methods to disentangle how climate change impacts marine invertebrates, and how coastal communities value and protect the ocean and their connections to it (e.g. livelihood, culture).
In essence, through my research I aim to characterize the resilience of marine socio-ecological systems to climate change in order to inform policy, marine spatial planning, and education.
Being an interdisciplinary person at heart (everything is interesting to learn about!), my research spans ecophysiology, eco-evolutionary dynamics, sense of place and stewardship, values theory, and resilience theory. Some of the questions I ask through my doctoral research are:
HOW DO PEOPLE VALUE THE OCEAN?
WHERE DO VALUES CONCENTRATE AND OVERLAP IN SPACE?
HOW DO VALUES RELATE TO STEWARDSHIP AND SENSE OF PLACE?
Purpose: Understand and map out the values that community groups and individuals associate with Átl’ka7tsem’s ocean, rivers and streams. Characterize the region's vulnerability to pressures, such as pollution and climate change
Methods: participatory mapping, interviews, survey, community meetings
Desired outcomes: Create maps, knowledge, and resources that will support and inform regional marine spatial planning, climate change adaptation, and community education
HOW DOES CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE AND SURVIVAL OF MARINE ECTOTHERMS?
Purpose: Quantify the individual and interactive effects of ocean warming and acidification on marine ectotherms. Disentangle how these effects vary across taxonomic groups and sublethal and lethal response variables. Evaluate how my results compare with the predictions of the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance (OCLTT) hypothesis
Methods: Meta-analysis for laboratory experiments that factorially test the effects of ocean warming and acidification on marine ectotherms
Desired outcomes: Update our scientific understanding of the specific sensitivities of taxonomic groups and response variables to ocean warming and acidification
HOW DO EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES SHAPE THE RESPONSE OF MARINE INVERTEBRATES TO CLIMATE CHANGE?
Purpose: Understand the interplay of local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity in shaping population response to climate change. Characterize the adaptive capacity to climate change of mid-latitude ectotherms with restricted dispersal.
Methods: Field-based reciprocal transplant of an intertidal snail, Nucella lamellosa, between the south and central coast of British Columbia. Factorial lab-based mesocosm experiment to test sublethal and lethal effects of these two stressors across various populations.
Desired outcomes: Improve our scientific understanding of the role of evolutionary processes in buffering marine invertebrates from rapid climate change