Saving Our Coastal Habitats
Coastal habitats provide a link between terrestrial and marine environments. Increasingly, we are recognizing the connectivity between land and sea, which is mediated by wildlife moving between these habitats, particularly marine birds. But changes caused by humans to all of these habitats could alter this balance, with potentially harmful environmental effects.
What are the greatest threats to coastal environments? Can we predict the indirect effects humans could have on these habitats and the wildlife they support? Dr. Mark Mallory, Canada Research Chair in Coastal Wetland Ecosystems, is trying to answer these and other questions—and help protect and preserve coastal areas in the process.
Mallory and his research team are using avian tracking technology, trace element and pollutant analyses, wetland sediment archives, and modern ecological approaches to determine how the health of coastal ecosystems varies naturally, and is affected by environmental changes. Their focus stretches from the high Arctic to the southernmost parts of Canada and across the North Atlantic.
Mallory’s research will provide better tools to assess the health of coastal ecosystems and identify the factors that influence their long-term sustainability. His findings will ultimately be used to conserve and restore healthy, sustainable coastal regions, as well as wildlife populations. They will also provide guidelines for future human activities in these habitats.