Investigating the influence of anthropogenic activities on British Columbia's coastal ecosystems
Understanding the interactions between human activities and the ecosystem in which they occur is vital to ecological knowledge and the development and maintenance of sustainable industry and recreation in the marine environment.
The Ecological Interactions Research Program (EIRP) at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo, BC, focuses on interactions in both benthic and pelagic habitats, taking an ecosystem-based approach in the context of a working coastal ecosystem that includes human activities. This research includes many facets of anthropogenic activities, and takes advantage of the ecosystem alterations as an ‘experiment-of-opportunity’ to advance our understanding of top-down and bottom-up interactions in near shore coastal ecosystems.
The EIRP Lab objectives are to determine how coastal ecosystems are influenced by human activities. Our research themes focus primarily on the following:
Invasion biology and conservation are also integral parts of this research - several species in wild and cultured shellfish communities are non-indigenous to British Columbia and are harvested for their economic value. Therefore, we also investigate the importance, abundance and ecological value of several invasive species in environmentally and economically important regions (e.g., Baynes Sound, BC).