Coastal Environmental Baseline Program projects in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

Description Timeframe Funding amount

Seabirds in Placentia Bay as indicators of status and trends in a coastal ecosystem

Funding recipient: Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Association, Inc.

Project summary: Coastal surveys will measure the abundance and distribution of seabirds, which are good indicators of forage fish dynamics in coastal ecosystems. Beach surveys will gather data on seabird mortality and any incidents of oil-impacted seabirds, oiled shorelines and oily debris.

4 years $175,980

Capelin spawning sites and multi-species aggregations in Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: University of Manitoba

Project summary: Researchers will interview local residents through boat-based surveys and conduct baseline sampling to identify deep-water spawning sites of capelin and associated multi-species hotspots in Placentia Bay. The collected data will be used to characterize the physical features of the study sites, while survey-based techniques will be used to quantify capelin egg and larvae densities at spawning sites.

3 years $177,848

Distribution and relative abundance of diadromous fishes in Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Project summary: This project will involve collecting environmental baseline data to characterize the current state of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems in Placentia Bay. The project will enable Memorial University to train a new generation of researchers to collect environmental data on Canada’s oceans. The results will provide an open source of data that can characterize ecosystems, while supporting evidence-based decision-making for the conservation of diadromous species, such as brown trout and Atlantic salmon. These data could also be critical for developing conservation and recovery plans for native Atlantic salmon on the island of Newfoundland.

4 years $104,467

Coastal habitat mapping of Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Project summary: Researchers will gather environmental baseline information on coastal marine habitats in Placentia Bay. The project will improve the ability to detect changes over time by collecting high-resolution environmental data, quantifying the presence of megabenthos (deep-sea megafauna) and expanding the mapping of coastal eelgrass and fish habitats.

4 years $491,777

Temporal and spatial presence, abundance and composition of micro and macro debris across various Placentia Bay habitats

Funding recipient: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Project summary: This project will collect information on the presence, abundance and composition of micro and macro debris at various locations in Placentia Bay, including shorelines, surface waters and sediments. The baseline data will provide insight into how these parameters vary between regions and over time (daily, seasonally and annually).

3 years $230,444

Chemical and biological baseline data to investigate primary productivity on the land-sea continuum of Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Memorial University of Newfoundland

Project summary: This project aims to obtain critical chemical and biological oceanographic baseline data on productivity and food web support in Placentia Bay. Researchers will focus on evaluating temporal and spatial variability in temperature, salinity, nutrient forms and concentrations, dissolved organic matter composition, microbial stocks and corresponding rates of primary productivity and nutrient cycling in resident phytoplankton communities. The data will aid the development of knowledge regarding climate-relevant mechanisms that will likely drive shifts in basal support of food webs in Placentia Bay.

2 years $66,816

Characterization of eelgrass sites in Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Humber Arm Environmental Association

Project summary: This project will involve collecting data on eelgrass presence, distribution and abundance in Placentia Bay. Additional data will be gathered on marine vegetation, structure-providing species (e.g. corals and sponges), water quality, sediment, shoreline characteristics, aquatic invasive species and nearshore species diversity.

4 years $292,965

Shoreline environmental baseline surveys in Placentia Bay – a shoreline characterization and assessment of biogeochemistry, nutrients, coliforms and hydrocarbons

Funding recipient: Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program (NAACAP), Inc.

Project summary: NAACAP will focus on assessing shoreline characteristics and water properties. They will collect samples at eight representative coastal sites at low tide in Placentia Bay. They will also conduct laboratory analyses and data interpretation in conjunction with Memorial University of Newfoundland. Key activities will include shoreline characterization (morphology and sediment), biogeochemistry and nutrient parameter assessment.

4 years $179,046

Improving knowledge of lobster populations and change in Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union

Project summary: This project will focus on collecting current baseline data about the lobster population and fishery and create a solid base on which to build future research. Placentia Bay has seen shifts in the local lobster ecology and fishery. The project will fill crucial data gaps in understanding fluctuations in the lobster population, based on the local ecological knowledge of lobster harvesters concerning changes they have seen and study locations they have identified, coupled with research on key indicators in the lobster fishery.

1 year $36,486

Improving knowledge of lobster populations and change in Placentia Bay (year 2)

Funding recipient: Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union

Project summary: This project will use Local Ecological Knowledge from Placentia Bay lobster harvesters and a subsequent study of key indicators in the lobster fishery (e.g. aquatic plants, carapace width, water temperature and growth indicators from tagging studies). The aim is to help fill data gaps in understanding fluctuations in the lobster population in Placentia Bay.

1 year $41,643

Investigating the distribution and abundance of Mytilus edulis, Belanus balanus and Semibalanus balanus in Placentia Bay

Funding recipient: Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador

Project summary: Data will be collected on Mytilus edulis, Balanus balanus and Semibalanus balanus as indicator species of various ecological factors, including environmental toxins (specifically hydrocarbons) in Placentia Bay. Understanding the distribution and health of local populations will provide datasets that can be used to determine how ecosystems are changing in Placentia Bay.

1 year $15,433
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