Summary

The Salish Sea is a highly productive, dynamic coastal ocean with substantial temporal and spatial variability at lower trophic levels (e.g. phytoplankton and zooplankton). This variability, in turn, may directly impact resident and migratory fish populations that are of major economic importance in the region. The main goal of this research is to investigate the level of synchronicity between phytoplankton and zooplankton phenology in the Salish Sea. Time-series data for phytoplankton will be derived from satellite imagery, buoy data, ferry data, citizen science data, and research cruise data, and then coupled with historical and present zooplankton data. By looking at long-term spatial data of phytoplankton and zooplankton, we can identify their response to different climate drivers (e.g. SST, wind) and global climatic indices. Ultimately, changes in the seasonal patterns of these lower trophic levels will provide insight into their influence on the growth, survival, and overall return strength of salmon populations in the region. This project will allow us to contribute to one of the primary objectives of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project (SSMSP), led by the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), which is to assess whether the “bottom-up processes driven by annual environmental conditions are the primary determinate of salmon production via early marine survival.” 

 
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