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 Region. 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 doing 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 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 Region 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 to community partners. Not many institutions are open for this kind of teaching, cooperation and shared the 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 our Research Director, Dr Laura Loucks at