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Project Details

Sidney, BC, Canada

A haven for wildlife, eagles and seabirds soar above the Salish Sea and British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. Sheltered, islet-dotted waters teem with seals, otters, orcas and porpoises.

Placement Details

This placement falls under the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) file within the Science and Conservation Program at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Gulf Island National Park Reserve is a haven for wildlife living in the Salish Sea and BC’s southern Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Participants have several key responsibilities while working under the supervision of the Marine Ecologist Team Leader. These include:

  1. Assisting with data analysis
  2. Analyzing baited remote underwater video (BRUV) footage
  3. Processing of orca data and identification of whales
  4. Processing forage fish and pinniped project data
  5. Assisting in weekly field work and data collection
  6. Assisting in research and reporting related to associated monitoring projects

Field work includes working on open helm marine vessels, in a variety of weather conditions and in regions with low to no cellular service for up to 10 hours a day.

Placement Category:  Field Research and Monitoring; Data Analysis, Management, and Reporting

Placement Season: Summer, Fall

Placement Type: Field

2023 Participant Highlights

Participants Keely Brown, Emily Klaasen, and Emily Warren

The placement with the Gulf Islands NPR team was an amazing experience for Emily W., Emily K., and Keely! They all feel they know so much more now about the technical gear used in marine data collection, and have gained skills working on/around boats, as well as data management and analysis skills.

Keely, in particular, feels the placement has given her a direction to her career – focusing on working with Parks Canada in the future because of the open, friendly and inclusive work environment of the Parks office. The placement has given a personal view to much of her schoolwork rather than just consuming info from third party sources.

Emily W says, “A unique opportunity to be a part of an important conservation effort in Canada. The Southern Resident Killer Whale is such a beloved population in Canada and getting to be part of the research and monitoring of this special animal at such an early stage of my career in marine biology was an honour. It solidified my future in marine mammal conservation and I am excited to see where the skills and knowledge I gained through this experience take me.”

Check out Keely’s feature on @oceanwiseyouth here

2021 Participant Highlight

Participant Jamie Lund

Jamie’s placement was heavily involved in the baited remote underwater video (BRUV) footage analysis and creating a species catalogue using that data, in the hope that a catalogue can be used to inform future marine spatial planning. She also spent time out on the water visiting field sites and assisting in gathering footage. 

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