Summary of baseline kelp forest surveys within and adjacent to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada
Trebilco, R and Demes, KW and Lee, LC and Keeling, BE and Sloan, NA and Stewart, HL and Salomon, AK, Summary of baseline kelp forest surveys within and adjacent to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada, Canadian Data Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 1252, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science Branch, Pacific Region Centre for Aquaculture and Environmental Research, Vancouver, Canada (2014) [Government or Industry Research]
In anticipation of the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Parks Canada, Haida Fisheries Program and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada initiated a collaborative kelp forest ecosystem monitoring program to establish baselines against which future changes could be evaluated. Underwater visual surveys of subtidal reef-associated fish, invertebrate and macroalgal communities were commenced during the summer of 2009 in the shallow rocky reef ecosystems of Haida Gwaii. Nine monitoring sites were initially established along the east coast of Louise Island, Lyell Island and Kunghit Island. Three additional sites were established on the west coast of Kunghit Island in 2010. Annual surveys were attempted for five years (2009-2013) at all sites. Surveys included replicate shallow (5-8 m) and deep (10-13 m) horizontal belt transects run parallel to shore for reef-associated fish (30x4 m) and conspicuous benthic macroinvertebrates (30x2 m), and quadrats (1x1 m) for urchins and macroalgae. From 2010 onward, the species composition of the kelp bed from shore to outer edge was examined with a vertical (perpendicular to shore) belt transect to survey kelp stipe density. Finally, all kelp was collected from within a 1m2 quadrat placed haphazardly in the middle of the bed; all kelp within this quadrat was sorted by species and weighed. These data provide a useful baseline against which to evaluate the ecological effects of 1) current spatially explicit management policies such as rockfish conservation areas (RCAs), 2) future marine zoning policies expected to be implemented in Gwaii Haanas, and 3) anthropogenic climate change and natural oceanographic forcing functions.