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Will Atlas

Will Atlas
Biological Sciences

Will is a PhD student in Dr. Jonathan Moore’s lab. His research focuses on understanding how physical drivers of salmonid life-histories interact across the landscape to produce diverse population portfolios, the implications of this diversity for population dynamics, and its implications for the resilience of salmon driven ecosystem and fisheries in the face of anthropogenic change. Watersheds provide diverse templates for the evolution of life-histories. From water chemistry and temperature to geomorphology, the physical conditions within watersheds vary across landscapes, influencing every aspect of salmonid biology and imposing fundamental selective pressures that shape populations of salmon.

Since 2012 Will has worked with Qqs Projects Society, a Heiltsuk driven non-profit based in Bella Bella. With Qqs he assisted in the development of a monitoring program that is couched within the traditional practices, values and resource management needs of the Heiltsuk, and supports the management Food Social and Ceremonial (FSC) fisheries. A major focus of this work is a sockeye monitoring program tracking abundance, spatial structure and life-history diversity in populations of sockeye that are currently not systematically monitored by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The centerpiece of the sockeye program is the Koeye River fish weir, a collaborative effort between Qqs Projects Society, HIRMD and the Hakai Beach Institute, which blends First Nations culture with contemporary resource stewardship to provide accurate mark-resight estimtes of sockeye abundance in the Koeye River watershed.