Floating Ideas

Join us once a month for our evening lecture series and find out what’s new in marine science from the experts! Free to members, regular admission rates apply. Lectures begin at 7:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

Thursday, April 26: Ancient First Nation Clam Gardens by Morgan Black

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Clam gardens are impressive inter-tidal  structures where huge numbers rocks were piled strategically at the low tide mark creating a wall or terrace. This changed the slope and composition of the beach making it more suitable for clams to grow and be harvested. Archaeologists are still determining when and how these gardens were constructed, but they are at least hundreds, if not a few thousand years old. Habitat modifications caused by humans are extensive the world over, and yet their effects on the local ecology are often poorly understood and/or documented. Coastal habitats are among the most modified and impacted. Clam gardens provide a unique example of a very long-standing human-caused habitat modification, and an excellent opportunity to research the effects on the plants and animals that live there.

Morgan Black is a PhD student in the Fisheries, Ecology and Marine Conservation Research Lab at the University of Victoria. Her research is studying the ecology and biodiversity of ancient clam gardens, specifically mobile species like fish, crabs and shrimp. Morgan is very grateful to have the opportunity to work with First Nation's communities and to learn about both traditional resource management methods and the historical and cultural value of coastal ecosystems and resources.