John Cristiani, MSc Candidate

University of British Columbia, Department of Zoology

I am interested in the application of geomatics to issues in marine conservation and planning. I come from a background in GIS with relevant experience in resource management and environmental assessments.

Supervisor: Mary O’Connor

Start to Finish: 09/2016 to 07/2018

CHONe Project: Priorities to protect and restore west coast seagrass beds: priorities, approaches and indicators for management of plant-dominated coastal ecosystems

Project Title: A larval dispersal model for understanding seagrass habitat connectivity (anticipated title)

Project Description:

I will evaluate how seascape physical structure and invertebrate life history traits interact to influence the diversity and connectivity of seagrass communities. I will simulate dispersal using a biophysical model which will allow me to describe patterns of connectivity and identify important dispersal corridors and nodes of habitat. This is critical for understanding the effects of habitat loss on the connectivity of the seascape and the subsequent consequences for dispersal.

The specific project/thesis aims are:

  1. Create a more comprehensive map of seagrass for the BC coast than what currently exists
  2. Map and describe the network of seagrass habitat as it is connected by invertebrate dispersal
  3. Identify meadows that are important for maintaining connectivity

This work has important implications for the management and design of MPAs that account for dispersal and connectivity.