Nearshore habitat and invertebrate dive surveys

Nearshore habitat and invertebrate dive surveys

Map: Nearshore habitat and invertebrate dive surveys. Sites surveyed in September 2019, using the Multispecies Benthic Invertebrates Monitoring and Benthic Habitat Mapping protocols.

Map: Nearshore habitat and invertebrate dive surveys

Sites surveyed in September 2019, using the Multispecies Benthic Invertebrates Monitoring and Benthic Habitat Mapping protocols.

About the mission

From August 31 to September 28, 2019, a team of DFO scientists conducted nearshore benthic surveys aboard the CCGS Vector. The scientists carried out SCUBA dive surveys on the north coast of British Columbia to collect specific information on the benthic habitats and their associated invertebrate and algae species. This work helps to support sustainable fisheries, marine spatial planning, and ocean protection, as well as contribute to an ecosystem-based understanding of nearshore habitats and species.

Mission objectives
  1. Collect the data necessary to describe and map nearshore benthic habitats. This will be accomplished with the Benthic Habitat Mapping survey.
  2. Collect the data necessary to monitor the stock status of important benthic invertebrates and their associated habitat. This will be accomplished with the Multispecies Benthic Invertebrates Monitoring survey.
The research and tools

The mission objectives will be accomplished using two different surveying methods: benthic habitat mapping and multispecies benthic invertebrate monitoring.

Benthic Habitat Mapping

The benthic habitat mapping surveys are qualitative and include recording the presence and absence of more than 100 species of invertebrates and over 50 species within the area of study. The data collected will help describe communities (species that like to live together). Combining these benthic communities with environmental data (such as temperature and salinity), enables the description and mapping of nearshore habitats. The collected data can also be used to understand and predict the distribution of benthic species. These outputs support marine spatial planning, emergency response and ocean conservation efforts.

Multispecies Benthic Invertebrate Monitoring

The multispecies benthic invertebrates monitoring surveys are quantitative, collecting data (abundance and size measurements) on several important invertebrates as well as relevant habitat information. Specifically, this survey measures the number and size of Green Sea Urchins, Purple Sea Urchins, Red Sea Urchins, Northern Abalone (a species at risk), Geoducks and Giant Red Sea Cucumbers. Data from this long-term monitoring program will inform stock assessments and will help Fisheries and Oceans Canada determine the stock status of these invertebrate species. This multispecies approach provides an ecosystem-based perspective to stock assessment and monitoring.

The team
Leads
  • Joanne Lessard – Benthic Habitat Mapping surveys
  • Janet Lochead – Multispecies surveys
Science Divers
The partners
  • Gitxaala First Nation
  • Kitsumkalum First Nation
  • Metlakatla First Nation
  • Laxkw’alaams First Nation
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