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Phoebe Gross

Phoebe Field work photo.jpeg

My research interests lie in salmon ecology and global change biology. I am particularly interested in understanding the impacts of climate change on Pacific Salmon populations and connecting research outcomes to conservation and management. My research will examine the impacts of sea-level rise and increasing water temperatures on juvenile Pacific
Salmon in estuaries.

Estuaries provide important nursery habitat for juvenile Pacific Salmon during their seaward migration. Rising sea levels will significantly alter the structure of estuarine habitats, which will in turn impact habitat availability and suitability for juvenile salmonids. Through field work
across eight estuaries on Vancouver Island, paired with sea-level rise and temperature modeling, my research will aim to answer three main questions:


  1. How will the availability of three main estuarine habitat types (marsh, meadow, and beach) shift under sea-level rise scenarios, and how will this impact juvenile salmonids?

  2. Can marsh migration (i.e. inland movement of estuaries in response to rising sea levels) compensate for lost salmonid habitat, and how is this constrained by coastal development?

  3. Will estuarine temperatures exceed the thermal maximum for juvenile salmonid species in the coming century, and where in the estuary would this occur?

This research is a part of the Estuary Resilience to Sea-Level Rise project, a collaboration between Nature Trust BC, coastal First Nations, and the SWL. I will work with project partners to inform restoration and management initiatives that can help maintain important salmonid
nursery habitat in light of changing conditions.

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