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Understanding Food Web Linkages

Improving understanding of the relationship between viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton, how they harness available resources, and the implications for prey quantity and quality available to juvenile and forage fish.

Using capacity for genetic-based research, coupled with biochemistry (stable isotopes and fatty acids), Hakai Institute is seeking to break new ground in the understanding of interactions between viruses-bacteria-phytoplankton-zooplankton at the base of the food chain.

Key questions in our research are:

  • Virus mediated control of phytoplankton and zooplankton mortality.
  • Physical-chemical controls of the nutritional quality of the zooplankton prey available to forage fish and juvenile fish, particularly salmon.
Food web interactions investigated in the Strait of Georgia