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Calvert Island, Canada

Stronen A.V.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Stronen A.V.,University of Aalborg | Navid E.L.,University of Calgary | Quinn M.S.,Mount Royal College, Calgary | And 5 more authors.
BMC Ecology | Year: 2014

Background: Emerging evidence suggests that ecological heterogeneity across space can influence the genetic structure of populations, including that of long-distance dispersers such as large carnivores. On the central coast of British Columbia, Canada, wolf (Canis lupus L., 1758) dietary niche and parasite prevalence data indicate strong ecological divergence between marine-oriented wolves inhabiting islands and individuals on the coastal mainland that interact primarily with terrestrial prey. Local holders of traditional ecological knowledge, who distinguish between mainland and island wolf forms, also informed our hypothesis that genetic differentiation might occur between wolves from these adjacent environments.Results: We used microsatellite genetic markers to examine data obtained from wolf faecal samples. Our results from 116 individuals suggest the presence of a genetic cline between mainland and island wolves. This pattern occurs despite field observations that individuals easily traverse the 30 km wide study area and swim up to 13 km among landmasses in the region.Conclusions: Natal habitat-biased dispersal (i.e., the preference for dispersal into familiar ecological environments) might contribute to genetic differentiation. Accordingly, this working hypothesis presents an exciting avenue for future research where marine resources or other components of ecological heterogeneity are present. © 2014 Stronen et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Bryan H.M.,University of Calgary | Bryan H.M.,University of Victoria | Bryan H.M.,Hakai Beach Institute | Smits J.E.G.,University of Calgary | And 7 more authors.
Functional Ecology | Year: 2015

Human-caused harassment and mortality (e.g. hunting) affects many aspects of wildlife population dynamics and social structure. Little is known, however, about the social and physiological effects of hunting, which might provide valuable insights into the mechanisms by which wildlife respond to human-caused mortality. To investigate physiological consequences of hunting, we measured stress and reproductive hormones in hair, which reflect endocrine activity during hair growth. Applying this novel approach, we compared steroid hormone levels in hair of wolves (Canis lupus) living in Canada's tundra-taiga (n = 103) that experience heavy rates of hunting with those in the northern boreal forest (n = 45) where hunting pressure is substantially lower. The hair samples revealed that progesterone was higher in tundra-taiga wolves, possibly reflecting increased reproductive effort and social disruption in response to human-related mortality. Tundra-taiga wolves also had higher testosterone and cortisol levels, which may reflect social instability. To control for habitat differences, we also measured cortisol in an out-group of boreal forest wolves (n = 30) that were killed as part of a control programme. Cortisol was higher in the boreal out-group than in our study population from the northern boreal forest. Overall, our findings support the social and physiological consequences of human-caused mortality. Long-term implications of altered physiological responses should be considered in management and conservations strategies. © 2014 The Authors. Source

Stocks A.P.,University of British Columbia | Pakhomov E.A.,University of British Columbia | Pakhomov E.A.,Hakai Beach Institute | Hunt B.P.V.,University of British Columbia | Hunt B.P.V.,Hakai Beach Institute
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2014

Monitoring habitat utilization and early marine growth of sockeye salmon juveniles (Oncorhynchus nerka) in fjords of the Pacific Northwest is currently hampered by difficulties in estimating residence times, limiting scientific advances in certain aspects of this species’ fisheries management and conservation. Combining otolith microchemistry and conventional daily ring counts, we were able to obtain the date of first entry and the residence time of sockeye juveniles in Rivers Inlet, British Columbia. This operationally inexpensive method builds upon variable microelement concentrations in fresh- and saltwater environments: barium (Ba) and strontium (Sr) concentrations within the sockeye otoliths differed between the freshwater and seawater growth zones; Ba concentrations in the freshwater growth zone were significantly higher than those in the seawater growth zone, while Sr concentrations in the former were significantly lower than in the latter. The concentrations of these elements within otoliths were determined quantitatively at high spatial resolution using in situ laser ablation inductively coupled with a plasma mass spectrometer (ICPMS) providing a record of the ambient environmental conditions experienced by individual fish. Exploratory analysis of a 3-year data set showed that the mean residence time of sockeye juveniles in Rivers Inlet varied between 3 and 6 weeks between years. © 2014 Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. All rights reserved. Source

Adams M.S.,University of Victoria | Adams M.S.,Hakai Beach Institute | Housty J.A.,QQS Projects Society | Paquet P.C.,University of Victoria | And 5 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

Ecological research, especially work related to conservation and resource management, increasingly involves social dimensions. Concurrently, social systems, composed of human communities that have direct cultural connections to local ecology and place, may draw upon environmental research as a component of knowledge. Such research can corroborate local and traditional ecological knowledge and empower its application. Indigenous communities and their interactions with and management of resources in their traditional territories can provide a model of such social-ecological systems. As decision-making agency is shifted increasingly to indigenous governments in Canada, abundant opportunities exist for applied ecological research at the community level. Despite this opportunity, however, current approaches by scholars to community engaged ecological research often lack a coherent framework that fosters a respectful relationship between research teams and communities. Crafted with input from applied scholars and leaders within indigenous communities in coastal British Columbia, we present here reflections on our process of academic–community engagement in three indigenous territories in coastal British Columbia, Canada. Recognizing that contexts differ among communities, we emerge with a generalizable framework to guide future efforts. Such an approach can yield effective research outcomes and emergent, reciprocal benefits such as trust, respect, and capacity among all, which help to maintain enduring relationships. Facing the present challenge of community engagement head-on by collaborative approaches can lead to effective knowledge production toward conservation, resource management, and scholarship. © 2014 by the author(s). Source

McLaren D.,University of Victoria | McLaren D.,Hakai Beach Institute | Fedje D.,University of Victoria | Fedje D.,Hakai Beach Institute | And 8 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2014

Post-glacial sea level dynamics during the last 15,000 calendar years are highly variable along the Pacific coast of Canada. During the Last Glacial Maximum, the Earth's crust was depressed by ice loading along the mainland inner coast and relative sea levels were as much as 200m higher than today. In contrast, some outer coastal areas experienced a glacial forebulge (uplift) effect that caused relative sea levels to drop to as much as 150m below present levels. Between these inner and outer coasts, we hypothesize that there would have been an area where sea level remained relatively stable, despite regional and global trends in sea level change. To address this hypothesis, we use pond basin coring, diatom analysis, archaeological site testing, sedimentary exposure sampling, and radiocarbon dating to construct sea level histories for the Hakai Passage region. Our data include 106 newly reported radiocarbon ages from key coastal sites that together support the thesis that this area has experienced a relatively stable sea level over the last 15,000 calendar years. These findings are significant in that they indicate a relatively stable coastal environment amenable to long-term human occupation and settlement of the area. Our results will help inform future archaeological investigations in the region. © 2014 The Authors. Source

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