Home page

Adaptive radiation and functional morphology

The Salmon Forest Project

Molecular Studies

Lab members




The Salmon Forest Project
Nutrients tend to flow from the land to the sea but recent studies by researchers in Alaska, British Columbia and Washington have focussed attention on the immense schools of migrating salmon that return nutrients from the open Pacific Ocean to coastal rivers and terrestrial habitats. Our research group has observed that black bears and grizzly bears throughout the British Columbia coast transfer large quantities of salmon carcasses from rivers into forests and these nutrients are incorporated into a broad diversity of plant and animal taxa.  We are using nitrogen and carbon isotopes to quantify the uptake of salmon-derived nutrients by mosses, herbs, shrubs, trees, insects (Multiple Honours projects,  MSc by D. Mathewson, PhD by M. Hocking), songbirds (MSc by Katie Christie), bears and wolves (MSc by D. Klinka,  PhD by Chris Darimont)(see additional projects on Lab Members Page and Publications) . One of the results to emerge from our studies has been the detection of salmon signatures in the yearly growth rings of ancient trees and this offers new opportunities for identifying historical salmon abundance (tree rings ).









This research is funded primarily by the David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org) and the Friends

of Ecological Reserves(www.ecoreserves.bc.ca) . Toggle flow diagram for video clip.