Emily Adamczyk, PhD Candidate

University of British Columbia, Department of Zoology

I am interested in how anthropogenic activities affect eelgrass biodiversity and ecosystem functions. I aim to understand which drivers are most detrimental to eelgrass community health.

Supervisor(s): Dr. Mary O’Connor

Start to Finish: 9/2015 – 6/2020

CHONe Project: Priorities, approaches, and indicators for management of plant-dominated coastal ecosystems

1.5.1.: Priorities to protect and restore west coast seagrass beds

Project Title:  Anticipated thesis title: Effects of climate, space, and time on eelgrass (Zostera marina) community structure

Project Description:

I will compare eelgrass epifaunal biodiversity between eelgrass meadows that are close and far in proximity to human activities. By combining fieldwork with quantitative analyses, I will be able to detect how human impacts are altering eelgrass biodiversity. This is essential for understanding how eelgrass communities change with the presence of humans and how we can mediate negative stressors to maintain important ecosystem functions.

The specific project/thesis aims are:

  1. Determining how anthropogenic activities alter eelgrass biodiversity and functions
  2. Identifying which indicators are most important for assessing eelgrass ecosystem health
  3. Comparing effects of human impacts on eelgrass communities between the east and west coast of Canada

This work will inform management on which indicators to analyze when assessing eelgrass ecosystem health and will help with creating MPAs.