From Coast to Coasts: Coordinated Research and Monitoring of Nearshore Habitats

Margot Hessing-Lewis

Hakai Institute

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

Nearshore foundation habitats including seagrass meadows and kelp forests are faced with many stressors from climate change to local development and harvest pressures. Changing distribution and productivity of these habitats can have large effects on ecosystem services, such as climate change mitigation and local food security. Growing evidence suggests that the effects of habitat change are intimately linked across nearshore habitats, such that transformation of interconnected seascapes affects ecosystem functions such as carbon sequestration and nursery function. As such, research network initiatives are growing, both locally and internally, to assess the magnitude and impacts of change to coastal habitats and the ecosystems they support; connecting trends from global to local scales. Globally, scientists are moving towards standardized methods for monitoring habitats and coordinating research, including examples from Smithsonian’s MarineGEO network. This requires training for those collecting data, and often leverages traditional ecological methods with new technologies. Local examples include drone (RPAS) training for Indigenous Watchmen in British Columbia, and analysis of seagrass change in response to wasting disease along the Northeast Pacific coast. Ultimately, in order to scale-up local data for comparative global analyses of habitat change, data management and harvesting systems are crucial. Our work with the Hakai Institute bridges this effort from field-based science to coordination of datasets for national and global ocean observation systems. 

For Winter Quarter 2020 Huxley College is collaborating with the Salish Sea Institute for the Huxley Speaker Series, with a focus on the Salish Sea.

Margot Hessing-Lewis

Margot Hessing-Lewis is a marine scientist with the Hakai Institute in British Columbia (BC). She is based at UBC, and conducts research across the BC coast. Her research focuses on nearshore habitats, including kelp forests and seagrass meadows. Margot leads a range of research network initiatives, ranging from work with local First Nations in British Columbia to globally coordinated experiments with Smithsonian’s MarineGEO.

More Information

The Huxley Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

Location & Time

Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


Location URL