In the Salish Sea, it is suggested that the inter-annual productivity variability has contributed to
the large variability in the Pacific salmon populations in the past 50 years, which have exhibited a
general decline in the past decades. This has led to considerable uncertainties
in current forecast models.

Data with sufficient time and spatial resolutions to address the dynamics of the environment is
fundamental to the improvement of forecast return models. Data collected by satellites,
sensors aboard ships of opportunity, and citizens are complementary and,
together with data from research cruises, provide information at the needed
scales to assist in fisheries management.


01. Integrating spatial-temporal environmental data acquired using non-specialized assets, ferries, citizens (ferry passengers and fishermen), and satellites

02. Investigating the level of synchrony between primary productivity and salmon productivity as an initial step toward evaluating the integration of environmental data in DFO’s salmon forecast models



Research Team

Maycira CostaPrinciple Investigator, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, UVic

Dr. Costa runs the spectral and remote sensing laboratory developing research methods to make more effective use of remotely sensed imagery for understanding and monitoring biophysical processes in ocean waters and wetlands, as well as researching light attenuation in coastal and riverine waters.

Project Contribution:

Maycira will oversee all aspects of this project to ensure the project objectives are met.  More specifically Maycira will be working with other project contributors and students to implement the installation of new sensors, data capture, and data validation.

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Laura CowenCo-PI, Associate Professor, Department of Math and Statistics, UVic

Dr. Cowen is an ecological statistician who's main area of research is in capture-recapture theory and applications.  She has studied a broad array of subjects from injection drug users to salmon.  Most recently she has become interested in batch marking studies where individuals are given identical marks.  Before becoming a statistician Laura was a field biologist studying auklets off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and Alaska.

Project Contribution:

Laura will help to investigate whether data captured by citizen scientists stands up in terms of quality for use in formal research studies.  This will be done by comparing data obtained from satellites, ferry boxes and hand held devices.

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Yvonne CoadyCo-PI, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, UVic

Dr. Coady is a database expert with a focus in the design of system architectures for data analytics.  Yvonne leads a team of graduate and post-doctorate students - dubbed the Mod(ularity) Squad - to improve the interrelation of computer system infrastructure software.  

Project Contribution:

Yvonne's contribution to the project is to "just stand back and be in awe of all the great students involved".  

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Ziwei WangPhD Student

Ziwei recieved her master's degree in planetary remote sensing at the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan)

Project Contribution:

Ziwei will work closely with ferry acquired optical and biogeochemical data with the goal of developing an improved satellite chlorophyll algorithm for the Salish Sea.   

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Nathan VandenbergMasters Student

Nathan is a Computer Science Masters student at UVic. He has a background in databases, data mining, and machine learning.

Project Contribution:

For this project Nathan will be working on a program to convert raw instrument data into a processed format for compatibility with our software. He will also look into a method of cleaning the data to ensure data quality.

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Andrea HilbornMasters Student

Andrea's research focus is on ocean colour remote sensing, atmospheric corrections, multi-satellite time series, geospatial analysis

Project Contribution:

Andrea will extend the local atmospheric correction from MODIS Aqua to the Suomi-NPP VIIRS sensor in order to identify phytoplankton bloom phenology throughout the Salish Sea. 

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Yang Yuyan (Bobo)Masters Student

Bobo is doing a masters degree in statistics.  

Project Contribution:

Bobo's project will look at data acquired from the BC ferries using citizens for science.  She will use this information to compare and test the data for accuracy.

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Stephen PhillipsResearch Assistant

Stephen is a recent masters student with a background in remote sensing and physics.  He brings a strong technical background and a passion for ocean science.  

Project Contribution:

Stephen will be heavily involved with project coordination and mentoring new students.  This involves ferry logistics, ferrybox sampling, and lab analysis.  

Project outcomes

  • A framework to engage the marine community, citizens, government, industry, and scientists, in taking advantage of non-specialized assets to fulfill the needs of marine observation data in the face of limited availability of specialized resources, such as research vessels
  • Contribute to the decision-making in fisheries management
  • Training of HQP with interdisciplinary knowledge in community engagement, ocean sciences, technology, and resource management to be future innovators
  • Providing end-users with economic opportunities to expand sales and to enrich and improve their social and environmental outreach initiatives
  • Providing end-users with spatial-temporal environmental information and associated analysis with salmon stock assessment to advise on implementation of salmon forecast return model