The Salish Sea is a transboundary ecosystem with almost 9 million people living within its boundaries. It is an estuary defined by numerous and extensive watersheds delivering freshwater and strong physical forcing bringing salt water from the Pacific Ocean. But the ecological function of the Salish Sea is being undermined by two pervasive threats: a growing human footprint and climate change. These impacts are not isolated—the intersection of the two yields cumulative effects across a variety of ecosystem components that are not easily measured and that are variable in space and time.
Tl’ches is an island group in the Salish Sea near present-day Victoria. As Songhees Nation reserve land, it is an archetypal Cultural Keystone Place inhabited by Lekwungen-speaking families for generations. This talk highlights ongoing community-based archaeological and historical ecology research regarding this archipelago as an ecosystem shaped by millennia of indigenous resource management and subsistence practices.
Mendel Skulski recording a soundscape in the field.
While the COVID19 pandemic is creating new awareness of the dangers of multi-host infectious disease for humans on land, big impacts of infectious pathogens are occurring under the ocean. The Harvell lab is focusing on the ecology of underwater disease of foundation and keystone species and their changing risk with ocean warming.
The Salish Sea is one body of water demarcated by an international border where loonies and toonies and dollars and cents are the respective coins of the realm. A common language is shared across the border but news seldom is.
There are no shortage of policy proposals and carefully constructed models to transform our energy system in response to the climate crisis. The problem has been turning these policies into law, even when the American public has been supportive of environmental protection. Sharon Shewmake talks about what she has learned working on policy in academia and what are the challenges faced in Olympia.