Carmen Gemmell

Combining temperature monitoring with eDNA to determine salmonid distribution changes in urban streams.

Climate change and land-use activities are changing stream temperatures, which affects fish distribution through impacts to growth, competitive ability, and survival. This is especially relevant for juvenile salmonids in urbanized systems, where warming rates are projected to be higher than average. Salmonid species have a thermal tolerance that is substantially lower than many other freshwater fish species making them particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature. Therefore, the use of rapid and accurate monitoring techniques, such as environmental DNA (eDNA) will be increasingly important for guiding regulation, restoration, and conservation efforts for juvenile salmonids in freshwater ecosystems.

My research will aim to characterize thermal profiles and study the impacts to salmonid distribution along a gradient of urbanized watersheds (variation in land-use) in the Lower Mainland. I will also be assessing the efficacy of eDNA as a monitoring tool in urbanized systems by pairing eDNA with more traditional assessment methods (e.g. visual, trapping). Part of my work will seek to collaborate with data generated by stream steward and First Nation groups across the region to better understand land-use impacts to aquatic temperatures and species distribution within urbanized streams.

Carmen is Advised by David Patterson (DFO Research Biologist and member of the Cooperative Resource Management Institute at SFU) and Co-Advised by Jonathan Moore.

Email: carmen_gemmell [at] sfu.ca