Linking habitat to fish utilization in the Skeena River Estuary
Ciara is passionate about applied conservation science in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Her project involved conducting community-driven research that connects sustainable resource development, environmental conservation and community access to resources. She worked in the Skeena River Estuary to investigate fish- habitat relationships for Pacific salmon and other forage fish such as smelt and herring that support the broader coastal food web. Her masters project addressed the question: What represents preferred habitat for estuary fish species? In other words, how important is a specific habitat feature (e.g., eelgrass) or environmental variable (e.g., salinity) to the species of interest? The Skeena River Estuary is an area with emerging industrial development and valuable fishery resources. Understanding the relationships between fish and specific habitat features can prioritize habitat protection, guide restoration activities, or inform industrial developments.