Traveler Bio

Welcome to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada! I arrived here in January on a Fulbright fellowship, which is a program that gives U.S. students the opportunity to collaborate abroad on a research project. I'm working at Simon Fraser University to determine best management options for the formerly endangered sea otter. This cuddly creature has been given the title of a keystone species because it is one of the most important members of kelp forest ecosystems. In consuming the sea urchin, a shellfish species that eats kelp, sea otters allow kelp and many other fish and invertebrate species to flourish in this incredible ecosystem. 

In the 18th and 19th century, many colonial settlers involved in the fur trade hunted the sea otter to near extinction. Thanks to recent conservation efforts, the otter is no longer endangered and many happy otter families now populate the BC coast! 

Like any conservation issue, helping the endangered species is not the only piece to consider. While the sea otter populations were in decline, the coastal indigenous communities of BC took advantage of hunting higher shellfish populations and formed their economies around these species. Now that the otters are back, First Nations harvesting may be in trouble. It is my job to help find the balance between resource use and conservation.

I can't wait to meet and show you everything Vancouver has to offer, from research to First Nations culture and the great outdoors!