These awesome projects are past Biosphere Research Award recipients

Since 2015, the CBT has granted an annual Biosphere Research Award of up to $20,000 to local research projects that will help enhance the vitality of our intertwined ecosystems and communities. We've compiled a list of the projects that were selected over the past 6 years for their ability to meet or exceed the funding criteria for the grant. Check them out below! 

Organization: Pacific Wildlife Foundation
Project: Gray Whale Society
Principal Investigator: Jim Darling 
Description: Use the research funds to analyze over 40 years of local gray whale sightings and 20 years of DNA samples to further develop his theory on gray whale social structure

Organization: Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds
Project: Conservation of Amphibian Migration Across Roads
Principal Investigator: Barbara Beasley
Description: Our goal is to determine the effectiveness of experimental culverts and fencing material to reduce road mortality and provide habitat connectivity for migrating amphibians.

Organization: University of Victoria / Hesquiaht Language Program
Project: Nuu-chah-nulth (NCN) worldview and place-based language revitalization
Principal Investigator: chuutsqa Layla Rorick
Description: Investigate and deliver NCN-centered content targeting the creation of an educational training program for working-age people to support the revitalization of NCN language in educational, land/sea-based and home environments. 

Organization: Central Westcoast Forest Society
Project: Assessing Habitat Conditions at Tranquil Estuary to Guide Chinook Restoration & Conservation Efforts
Principal Investigator: CWFS Research Team
Description: Assess the role of habitat biophysical conditions in the spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of rearing salmon in the estuary. By having an evidence-based picture of the habitat conditions, we can begin to effectively restore the wild salmon stocks of the Tranquil Creek.

Organization: Raincoast Education Society
Project: Residency and Habitat Use of Migrating Shorebirds in Tofino, BC
Principal Investigator: Mark Maftei
Description: Clarify the patterns of residency and habitat use of shorebirds in the Tofino area by tracking shorebirds of multiple species during both spring and fall migration (200 total) over three years using VHF radio transmitters. 

Organization: Thornton Creek Enhancement Society
Project: West Coast Vancouver Island Juvenile Chinook Survival Project
Principal Investigator: Tom Balfour
Description: Gain a better understanding of hatchery release strategies, growth rates, survival and spatial/temporal habitat preferences of WCVI Chinook during the year of life in both freshwater and marine environments.

Organization: Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society
Project: Pelagic Marine Species Survey
Principal Investigator: SIMRS Team
Description: There remain vast gaps in knowledge of species that inhabit offshore (pelagic) marine ecosystems, many of which are considered Threatened, Endangered, or Data Deficient. The project seeks to better our understanding of pelagic marine species, offshore habitats, key threats, and recent changes to pelagic ecosystems by collecting a broad spectrum of species and habitat data along the same transect across the continental shelf break near Clayoquot Sound.

Organization: Raincoast Education Society
Project: Residency and Habitat Use of Migrating Shorebirds in Tofino, BC
Principal Investigator: Mark Maftei
Description: To clarify the patterns of residency and habitat use of shorebirds in the Tofino area, we are tracking shorebirds of multiple species during both spring and fall migration using VHF radio transmitters. Data on individual movement patterns and residency are expected to predict the average length of stay in the area as well as the proportion of time spent in different habitats (e.g., beach vs. mudflats). We expect to integrate these data with ongoing studies examining the effects of human disturbance in key areas of beach habitat around Tofino. This project is in its fourth year.

2023 - two awards
Organization: Redd Fish Restoration Society
Project: Salmon Highways: Kelp Forest Habitat in Clayoquot Sound
Principal Investigator: Emily Fulton
Description: Redd Fish’s long-term kelp monitoring initiative will determine baselines for kelp forest distribution, health, and abundance and identify vital kelp forest habitats for Pacific salmon in Clayoquot Sound. Kelp forest ecosystems are known to provide critical migration corridors and rearing habitats for juvenile salmon. Utilizing decades-proven snorkel survey techniques we will be able to quantify species-specific salmon presence in these ecosystems and identify “hot spots” for salmonids in the nearshore marine. The data gathered will inform decisions on future restoration activities, the need for further research, local economic opportunities for First Nation partners, and fill known data gaps related to marine survival of Pacific salmon and the health of other culturally and economically important coastal species.

Organization: University of British Columbia
Project: Microplastic Ingestion by Humpback Whales in Barkley Sound
Principal Investigator: Rhys Jensen
Description: Recent initiatives within Barkley Sound have attempted to describe the pervasiveness of microplastics along its shorelines (Vanderbanck & Griffith-Cochrane, 2021). However, the ability for microplastics to enter coastal food webs is unknown. The project investigates microplastic ingestion – via fecal analysis - amongst humpback whales foraging in Barkley Sound. Humpback whales are critical predators that exploit both fish and zooplankton, providing an opportunity to assess microplastic ingestion across multiple trophic levels (Ford, 2014). The overall goals of my proposed research in Barkley Sound are to 1) determine if humpback whales are ingesting microplastics via analysis of their feces; 2) categorize fecal-derived microplastics by size, shape, and color; 3) conduct genetic analysis on humpback whale feces in attempt to correlate diet with microplastic exposure; 4) determine whether humpback whales ingest microplastic predominantly from the environment or from their prey.

Regional Forum

November 20, 2023
On Wednesday, October 18th, 2023 the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust facilitated a regional forum. Over 65 individuals convened virtually and in person on Tla-o-qui-aht territory at TinWis, fostering meaningful connections, sharing insights, and cultivating strong relationships. Participants included representatives from First Nations, local governments, organizations, businesses and individuals involved in environmental research, stewardship, restoration, and sustainable development.

Clayoquot Biosphere Project Storymap

March 24, 2022
We are excited to share an exciting new StoryMap that shares a foundational chapter in science and conservation history on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Back in the 1990s, west coast residents created a grass-roots environmental research organization called the Clayoquot Biosphere Project (CBP).

Clayoquot Sound Oceanographic Conditions: University of Washington Tacoma Study

June 30, 2021
Since 2017, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has collaborated with the University of Washington Tacoma to conduct ongoing water-quality research on the physical, chemical and biological oceanographic conditions in the fjords of Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds. UW Tacoma has been conducting this research in the region since 2000 and have a vast collection of data as a result. This partnership is mutually beneficial as it provides us with a broader knowledge of local conditions as well as giving the students real world data collection and analysis experience.

Reflections on the book "Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods"

April 22, 2021
The book Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods, edited by Anthony Charles, is an account of these community stories recently co-published by the Community Conservation Research Network and the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEEP). When taken together, these community experiences demonstrate how each community in its own unique way has learned the value of working together when guided by shared conservation principles and partnerships for mobilizing support for local economic and ecological solutions.