Hard Seabeds

In salmon aquaculture, ocean farms are traditionally placed on soft sandy or muddy substrates, based on water quality conditions and general topography. Hard substrates, such as cobble or bedrock, are also being used; however, over these substrates, ecological changes can be difficult to monitor. This project used a remotely operated vehicle to observe biological indicators on hard-bottom sites and devise innovative ways of monitoring water quality and habitat, with the goal of enhancing the aquaculture industry’s environmental sustainability.

This project included three major research questions:

  • What types of Beggiatoa bacteria are present? Thin types represent oxygen and sulphides, while thick types represent no oxygen present.
  • What habitat characteristics are present when thin or thick Beggiatoa are present?
  • What are the polychaete species that make up the opportunistic polychaete complexes observed?
“With any human activity, we need ways to monitor how it impacts the surrounding environment. We need to figure out if the changes we're seeing on the sediment are mimicking the changes we're seeing in the environment.”
Aisling Brady
lead researcher

Researchers

Dr. Aisling Brady - Dr. Brady is a sessional instructor in the Math/Science Department. Her research background stems from a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto in Physical Geography, and a PhD from the University of Calgary in Marine Biology.

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Naomi Tabata
Manager, Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation