Presentation Abstract

Artificial reefs are a conservation tool that can increase biodiversity and habitat complexity in degraded habitats around the world. In some areas, they can be effective at helping to counter stressors such as overfishing by increasing the abundance of coral and fish. In addition to providing habitat, they also provide an opportunity to engage non-scientists in monitoring projects as the public can be involved in both the design and monitoring of these artificial structures. While numerous artificial reef projects exist, many are located in warm tropical waters with limited focus on the role that artificial structures can play for fish populations in colder, temperate areas. Artificial reefs are also often created from repetitive pieces, like tires or concrete blocks, which may not incorporate the characteristics of naturally occurring seabed habitat such as kelp, corals or sponges. To examine these gaps, we created a temperate artistic artificial reef in Howe Sound, British Columbia in an effort to increase rockfish abundance while also engaging the public through art and ocean literacy. We collaborated with art students from two local universities to create unique sculptures that mimic multiple characteristics of naturally occurring rockfish habitats. We deployed the sculptures in summer 2019 and SCUBA divers are conducting ongoing surveys to assess the sculptures’ effectiveness at increasing overall marine biodiversity, with a focus on monitoring rockfish species. As art can be an effective tool to connect people to nature, the artistic element of this project demonstrates a novel method for engaging the public in rockfish conservation and habitat conservation in general. This conservation effort provides a unique case study on the role that citizen science can play in monitoring biodiversity, and highlights a method for bridging art and science that can be used to engage the public in rockfish conservation in the Salish Sea.

Session Title

Track: Trophic Interactions - Zooplankton, Phytoplankton, Salmon, Forage Fish & Invasive Species – Posters

Conference Track

Trophic Interactions - Zooplankton, Phytoplankton, Salmon, Forage Fish & Invasive Species

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2020 : Online)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

2020_abstractID_3642

Start Date

21-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2020 4:45 PM

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 22nd, 4:45 PM

Reefs for rockfish: A collaborative approach to monitor populations and increase awareness in Howe Sound.

Artificial reefs are a conservation tool that can increase biodiversity and habitat complexity in degraded habitats around the world. In some areas, they can be effective at helping to counter stressors such as overfishing by increasing the abundance of coral and fish. In addition to providing habitat, they also provide an opportunity to engage non-scientists in monitoring projects as the public can be involved in both the design and monitoring of these artificial structures. While numerous artificial reef projects exist, many are located in warm tropical waters with limited focus on the role that artificial structures can play for fish populations in colder, temperate areas. Artificial reefs are also often created from repetitive pieces, like tires or concrete blocks, which may not incorporate the characteristics of naturally occurring seabed habitat such as kelp, corals or sponges. To examine these gaps, we created a temperate artistic artificial reef in Howe Sound, British Columbia in an effort to increase rockfish abundance while also engaging the public through art and ocean literacy. We collaborated with art students from two local universities to create unique sculptures that mimic multiple characteristics of naturally occurring rockfish habitats. We deployed the sculptures in summer 2019 and SCUBA divers are conducting ongoing surveys to assess the sculptures’ effectiveness at increasing overall marine biodiversity, with a focus on monitoring rockfish species. As art can be an effective tool to connect people to nature, the artistic element of this project demonstrates a novel method for engaging the public in rockfish conservation and habitat conservation in general. This conservation effort provides a unique case study on the role that citizen science can play in monitoring biodiversity, and highlights a method for bridging art and science that can be used to engage the public in rockfish conservation in the Salish Sea.