Claire Attridge

My degrees
BSc Biology, Dalhousie University

What I am now
MSc student

Email :          Twitter : @ClaireAttridge

Broad research interests

How environmental variation shapes patterns and processes in marine communities

MSc research

My research interests focus on the dynamics of subtidal ecosystems, and more specifically, the ecological processes that affect kelp-associated communities. Kelp forests are ecologically and economically valuable ecosystems, supporting a high density and diversity of marine species. As global threats to kelp forests are increasing, their long-term persistence, as well as that of their associated biological communities, is at risk. I am exploring how the deforestation of kelp forests affects the diversity and abundance of kelp-associated communities and examining patterns of change over space and time. Using a combination of field surveys, historical literature reviews, and spatiotemporal modeling, I aim to determine (i) the quantitative relationships between kelp density and the diversity of biological communities they host, and (ii) how the diversity of kelp-associated communities has changed over the past century on the coast of British Columbia. My work will provide insight on the extent to which kelp-associated communities have declined over the past century, establishing robust baselines from which to predict and manage future ecosystem change.  

Past research

I worked with the Metaxas lab at Dalhousie University to explore the dynamic interactions between kelp beds and an invasive, encrusting bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea) on the coast of Nova Scotia. Through field work as a scientific diver and statistical modelling, I explored how the environmental variable of wave-exposure influenced the patterns of abundance of kelps and the life history stages of M. membranacea.