SABS oceanographic focus is on the coastal marine environment, an area that is heavily utilized for a variety of industrial and recreational activities. The aim is to identify links between the physical components (such as water temperature, salinity, and currents) and the marine ecosystem using a combination of field work, data analysis and computer modeling.
Work has focused on interactions between aquaculture and oceanographic conditions. We are assisting the aquaculture industry to develop management areas to reduce environmental impacts such as changes to the ocean bottom under sea cages, improved disease management and more. SABS oceanographers are also providing information on offshore aquaculture development.
The team also monitors phytoplankton in the marine environment. Some marine phytoplankton produce toxins that can reach harmful concentrations during annual blooms, known as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). We monitor HABs and other phytoplankton to determine patterns and trends in their populations and look at the environmental factors that influence the occurrence of blooms.
The introduction of invasive species, i.e. species that are not native to a region, through ballast water is also under investigation. SABS is working with an international community of scientists to develop a monitoring system and provide scientific input into regulations surrounding ballast water.
Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, or the growing of multiple species (salmon, mussels and kelp), is being investigated in the Bay of Fundy as a way to improve the economic viability and to reduce the environmental impact of salmon cage culture. The environmental and economic benefits are being studied along with regulatory implications.
Research in ecology and the classification of marine species and their habitats within the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine is underway to report on its current state and to develop indices of historical change. These support DFOs conservation mandates within the Oceans Act and the new ecosystem-based fisheries management approaches to better understand the important connections between habitat and species interactions.
In collaboration with the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, universities, and U.S. scientists, research includes: interactions between marine activities and habitat; benthic classification and mapping; factors and processes related to biodiversity; improved methods of species and habitat identification; detection of biological and ecological significant areas; and science for management of the Musquash Marine Protected Area.
SABS scientists are working with The Centre for Marine Biodiversity in the exploration of the Gulf of Maine Discovery Corridor. The goal is to conduct an inventory on the number of marine species within the corridor, and to develop projects to understand how conservation of marine biodiversity can be accommodated while sustainable utilization of marine resources occurs. This Corridor is part of the national strategy for enhancing research to help Canada meet its international biodiversity conservation commitments.