Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Ucluelet, Canada

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada

Ucluelet, Canada
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Robinson C.L.K.,University of Victoria | Yakimishyn J.,Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2013

The persistence and stability of fish assemblages found in 34 eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows along the British Columbia coast was examined from 2004 to 2011. Assemblage persistence (nontrending species composition) and assemblage stability (constancy in abundance over time) were assessed using a time-lag regression method that tests for temporal turnover within short time series. Overall, 85% of the fish assemblages persisted, and 80% of the assemblages exhibited stability in abundance over the 8-year study. Environmental conditions in 33 of 34 meadows did not change substantially over the 8 years, and the low interannual variability may have contributed to the high persistence and stability of the fish assemblages. The lack of temporal turnover in relatively undisturbed eelgrass fish assemblage properties is a critical element for effective monitoring of coastal ecosystem integrity.

Robinson C.L.,Parks Canada Agency and 300 300 West Georgia St | Robinson C.L.,University of Victoria | Yakimishyn J.,Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada | Yakimishyn J.,University of Victoria | Dearden P.,University of Victoria
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2011

Maintaining habitat diversity and heterogeneity are key ecological elements of marine spatial planning. It is often assumed that patches of the same habitat harbour similar biological diversity. However, if habitat heterogeneity is high then the efficacy of habitats as surrogates of species diversity is weakened. Beta diversity variation in fish assemblages in eelgrass meadows along the Pacific coast of Canada was analysed using permutational multivariate analysis of variance and tests for dispersion of homogeneity. Variations in species composition were examined at an inter-regional scale (100s of km apart) and an intra-regional scale (10s of km apart) over 7years. Further, similarity percentage analysis and biological-environmental modelling were used to identify factors that differentiated among fish assemblages. Beta diversity turnover was also considered by examining for the decay in fish assemblage similarity across gradients in sea surface temperature, salinity, and physical distance between pairs-of-meadows using linear regression. Patches of eelgrass meadows exhibited high fish assemblage dissimilarity at both the intra-regional and inter-regional scales; spatial factors accounted for substantially more variation in fish composition than temporal factors. A large number of fish species (20-30) and different suites of environmental factors accounted for the observed high beta diversity variation. Fish composition similarity did not decay consistently within each region with physical distance between meadows or with a change of 1°C in temperature, but Jaccard similarity did decay significantly within each region by 2-4% per part per thousand change in salinity. It is recommended that marine protected area planners consider the influence of freshwater flow into the coastal ocean and its subsequent impact on environmental gradients, which drives fish assemblage heterogeneity among eelgrass habitat patches. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Siegle M.R.,University of British Columbia | Robinson C.L.K.,University of Victoria | Yakimishyn J.,Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada
Northwest Science | Year: 2014

In this study we evaluated the effects of region, body size, and sample size on the weight-length relationship (WLR) of small-bodied fishes that commonly occur in eelgrass meadows (Zostera marina) along the Pacific coast of Canada. Due to the location of the BC coast within Zoogeographic and oceanographic transition zones, we hypothesized that regional differences in the WLR would be observed. Surprisingly, no effect of region on the slope parameter b was detected for any of the 30 fish species examined. Further, eight species exhibited bimodality in their length-frequency histograms, but we did not detect an effect of body size on b with hierarchical mixed effects models. Moreover, the prediction that species collections with a high proportion of juveniles would be more likely to exhibit positive allometric growth (b > 3.0) is not supported by our data. We also considered the effect of sample size on estimates of the 'true' WLR for eight species representing different body shapes, and we found that a minimum of 100 individuals of each species could be pooled from different areas along the BC coast and used to generate precise WLRs for small-bodied fish species. Overall, the results from this study can be used to facilitate further inquiries into the functioning and production dynamics of small-bodied fish species in nursery habitats, such as eelgrass meadows. © 2014 by the Northwest Scientific Association. All rights reserved.

Johnson M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Clarkson P.,Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada | Goldstein M.I.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Haig S.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 3 more authors.
Condor | Year: 2010

The Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) is an intertidal obligate along North America's Pacific coast and a species of high conservation concern (population size 8900-11 000 individuals). Understanding birds' movements and space use throughout the annual cycle has become paramount in the face of changing environmental conditions, and intertidal species may be particularly vulnerable to habitat change due to anticipated sea-level rise associated with climate change and increasing coastal development. Conservation of the Black Oystercatcher is hindered by a lack of information on the species' nonbreeding distribution, seasonal movements, and habitat connectivity. Using satellite (n = 19) and VHF (n = 19) radio transmitters, we tracked Black Oystercatchers from five breeding sites (Vancouver Island, British Columbia; Kodiak Island, Prince William Sound, Middleton Island, and Juneau, Alaska) through one and one half annual cycles (May 2007-Dec 2008). We documented medium- to long-distance migration (range of migration distance 130-1667 km) in three populations (Prince William Sound, Middleton Island, and Juneau) and year-round residency in two others (Kodiak and Vancouver Island). We observed variation in the timing and length of migration by study site, and individual birds demonstrated fidelity to breeding and nonbreeding sites. We did not observe strong migratory connectivity. Migratory oystercatchers distributed themselves widely along the coasts of British Columbia and southeast Alaska during winter. Results provide baseline information on the Black Oystercatcher's movements and space use throughout the annual cycle. © 2010 The Cooper Ornithological Society.

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