Surface Drifter Studies in the Broughton Archipelago



The circulation of waters in the Broughton region has been the subject of a recently completed ACRDP project and a component of a new ACRDP project to investigate the life history of sea lice. Our field programs have significantly increased our knowledge and understanding of the circulation of this complex region, but there is much more that we do not know. Numerical circulation models of the region have extended our understanding and identified key areas for further research. We have also developed tools like the particle tracking software that use the numerical model currents to simulate the movement of pathogens, toxic algal blooms and free-swimming larval stages of salmon louse (i.e. Lepeophtheirus Salmonis) from different source locations. These particle tracking simulations provide us with our best available estimates of the transport pathways, distances traveled and concentration of particles in the model region. However, many of these particle tracking simulations were conducted in regions where data to initialize and verify the model currents were absent. Furthermore, wind forcing, which is know to be important in Knight Inlet has not been included in the numerical circulation model and thus not taken into account in the particle tracking simulations. We propose to conduct detailed measurements of near surface circulation at a number of farm sites and other areas of interest using GPS (Global Positioning System) tracked surface drifters in order to observe the dispersion and movements of surface waters. The drifter experiments will also be used to verify model representations of the mean surface circulation at many locations and to compare with and refine our particle tracking simulations.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2007


Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Dario Stucchi