Monday, November 2, 2015

Students at NWCC research invasive species with the Smithsonian and DFO

Invasive species on the North Coast
are the subject of research work
at the Prince Rupert campus
of Northwest Community College
As October came to an end, students of Northwest Community College's Applied Coastal Ecology program could be found working along the North Coast waterfront, engaged in a wide ranging research project into invasive species into area waters.

As part of their work last month, the local students received some high profile assistance from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre in California and Maryland, as well as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Nanamio office.

Together, along with Jason Scherr of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, all involved in the research project began their work of retrieving PVC panels from the floating docks covering an area from the Prince Rupert Industrial Park to Port Edward.

The main focus of the work was to identify and count each species collected and to take samples of all of the marine life found, using the the marine life for further examination and DNA analysis.

The project comes with two goals to follow the first, is to establish a baseline inventory of marine invertebrates for this area. A crucial step which will enable scientists to monitor changes over time. Those changes could come by way of ocean warming, acidification, pollution, invasive species or some other factor. 

 The second goal is to look for invasive species resulting from transportation in ship ballast water, or attachment to the hull of ships or ocean debris from disasters like the Fukoshima tsunami.

“This is a great opportunity for our students,” ... “It provides them with real experience on meaningful research projects." -- Natasha Lebedick, NWCC Applied Coastal Ecology instructor, on the importance of a current research project taking place in Prince Rupert.

The project also provides some valuable research work for the students of the Applied Coastal Ecology program at the Prince Rupert Campus, as well it allows the college to refine their methods on the study of the issue, while allowing them to maintain the project into the months ahead.

You can learn more about the project from this item from NWCC.

For more information on the Applied Coastal Ecology program at the Prince Rupert Campus see this course outline from NWCC.

More background on education in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

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