Project Garden Fish

Project Garden Fish aims to quantify the fish and mobile invertebrate utilizing ancient First Nations structures called clam gardens.

Clam gardens are impressive structures in the inter-tidal where huge numbers rocks were piled strategically at the low tide mark creating a wall or terrace. This changed the slope and composition of the beach making it more suitable for clams to grow and then be harvested. Archaeologists are still determining when and how clam gardens were constructed, but they are at least hundreds, if not a few thousand years old. Habitat modifications caused by humans are extensive the world over, and yet their effects on the local ecology is often poorly understood and/or documented. Coastal habitats are among the most modified and impacted. Clam gardens provide a unique example of a very long-standing human caused habitat modification, and therefore an excellent opportunity to research the effects on the plants and animals that live there. We are also surveying beaches nearby that lack these walls to use a comparison.

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We are using Fyke nets, minnow traps, GoPro footage and potentially snorkel and scuba surveys to collect data on what species are present at each of these sites. To date twelve different beaches on northern Quadra Island have been surveyed. An excellent start to an interesting project. This project being conducted in collaboration with Hakai Research Institute, EIRP Lab (VIU), Juanes/Baum Lab (UVIC), CMEC Lab (SFU) and the Clam Garden Network.