In 2013, researchers began a study of Whale genetics at Echachist, a traditional village site for the Tla-o-qui-aht people.

In 2013, researchers began a study of whale genetics at Echachist, a traditional village site of the Tla-o-qui-aht people.

Science and research are key components of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Through science, research and traditional ecological knowledge, we are seeking a better, more sustainable future for Clayoquot Sound.

Throughout the years, Clayoquot Sound has been home to innovative research, monitoring, education and training initiatives funded by a variety of groups, from local government agencies to international students. At the CBT, we support research of all kinds, as we believe that a better, more sustainable way of do things requires knowing how our ecosystems work now.

Relevant research in our biosphere: collaborations between university students and the communities

Quest University

In April 2015, Quest University students participated in a week long west coast Political Ecology field course, coordinated by Quest professor Dr. John P. Reid-Hresko. Several local community members shared their knowledge and perspectives with the visiting students who were exploring the multiple meanings and motivations for conservation in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere. The results or their inquiry were documented as digital stories that can be viewed here.

SFU and BOKU Universities 

In the week of April 19-24, 2015, more than 20 graduate students from BOKU University of Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria and Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, BC., visited the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Region for a unique kind of research workshop. Instead of joining one of the many opportunities for outdoor education, such as whale or bear watching, they worked in groups to contribute to the planning of the Biosphere Reserve and to create new ideas for sustainable management.

Dr. Wolfgang Haider from SFU, who initiated this new teaching experiment together with Dr. Ulrike Pröbstl-Haider from BOKU, worked with Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, Catherine Thicke and Dr. Laura Loucks from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust to design locally relevant student research projects. Dr. Haider believes it is necessary to give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a real world situation and contribute something of value for community partners. Not many institutions are open for this kind of teaching, cooperation and shared learning experience. “On the west coast”, he said, “the people are open minded and provide excellent conditions for these kinds of courses, particularly when the students can both work and live in the community”.

Throughout the week, students met with local community members and organizations to discuss their research ideas and presented their findings during a community session on Friday April 24th at the Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre. Four main projects were presented, including a Sustainable Regional Tourism Management Framework, creative solutions for Affordable Housing in Tofino, a website platform for regional coordination of Environmental Education Programs and an innovative concept for promoting Health & Wellness Tourism. Click the links above for each of the project reports.

The CBT hopes to foster more community-university student research collaborations over time. If you or your organization has a project you would like researched by visiting students, please contact Dr. Laura Loucks at

Are you interested in conducting research in Clayoquot Sound? Here are a few resources:

Libraries & Archives
Along with several document archives that were gifted to the CBT, we are also compiling a comprehensive library of documents and other reference material related to all aspects of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region. You can search for documents on the
Clayoquot Research Librarywhich we have created along with West Coast Aquatic. Please contact staff to learn more about these resources and to arrange access to the materials, which are housed in our Tofino office. As well, if you have documents or materials to add to the library or archives, please contact Adrienne Mason at the CBT office.

Standard of Conduct for Research in Northern Barkley and Clayoquot Sound Communities
Research Standard of Conduct  is an agreed set of principles, guidelines and practical tips for research conduct that acknowledges community expectations, First Nations customs and university ethics requirements and a starting place for conducting research in Clayoquot Biosphere Region.

Research Cabin
Sydney Inlet Biosphere Research Cabin backgrounder
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) is proud to operate a remote research cabin in Sydney Inlet. The Sydney cabin is available to researchers, scientists and educational groups as a base for their work in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Please contact staff to learn more about the cabin or arrange a research visit.

For more information contact:
Dr. Laura Loucks
Research Coordinator
Clayoquot Biosphere Trust
Phone 250-725-2219 Cell 250-726-5828