The Strait of Georgia is a highly productive, semi-enclosed, marine ecosystem that has undergone considerable changes in recent years. Surrounding populations and their sewage have increased, as have commercial (e.g. fishing and shipping) and recreational usages (e.g. boating and sport-fishing). There have also been significant changes in the marine ecosystem of the Strait of Georgia. Increased occurrences of red tides and high fecal coliform counts have led to more frequent shellfish harvesting closures and raised concerns in the aquaculture industry. The life cycles of Plankton, the food for fish, have also changed, with key species now arriving at least a month earlier than they did historically. STRATOGEM is an attempt to understand the links between the lowest levels of biological productivity in this Strait with the physical dynamics of the system. By tying together a 3 year monitoring program with computer models of the circulation and biological dynamics we hope to come up with some idea as to why some of these changes are occurring.
STRATOGEM is an NSERC-funded Research collaboration between scientists at the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, and the Institute of Ocean Sciences.