Matt Csordas, UVIC PhD student, is determining Kelp distribution around Vancouver Island

Matt Csordas, PhD student in Dr. Julia Baum’s at UVIC, is at the BMSC examining kelp population modelling around Vancouver Island.

Kelp are large, brown algae that grow in temperate marine waters. Along the west coast, many species of kelp form huge underwater forests which are habitat to hundreds of other species. Unfortunately, many kelp species are in decline due rising water temperatures as a result of the climate crisis. However, we still don’t understand the distribution of different kelp species – that’s where Matt comes in.

With support from Dr. Samuel Starko, Post Doc in Dr. Julia Baum’s lab , Kelp Rescue Coordinator Clay Steell, and BMSC, Matt has been logging some early days to beat the tide! Timing their work with very low tides means the team can recover over 35 temperature loggers that were deployed in the low intertidal zone last year. Using some nifty NFT tech, a year’s worth of temperature data can be stored and downloaded, data that will be useful for examining how temperature may influence kelp species distributions.

In addition to gathering temperature data, Matt is mapping the distribution of different kelp species around Vancouver Island using ROV’s (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicles), and intertidal and boat-based surveys. These data will be used to establish a contemporary baseline of kelp distribution, with the goal to predict kelp decline and/or recovery under future climate scenarios. Ultimately, this work feeds into informing ocean conservation efforts & blue carbon perspectives towards saving these critical habitats!

📸Aneri Garg, Sam Starko

This research is supported by NSERC, alliance to Dr. Julia Baum’s lab at UVIC, Mitacs Canada, with support from Kelp Rescue.
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