You can find our current and future positions on this page.

Current Positions

Biodiversity and Seasonality of Seaweed Communities in a Changing Climate

UBC PI: Patrick Martone
Hakai PIs: Margot Hessing Lewis, Matt Lemay

Macroalgae are central components of marine ecosystems, creating habitat, providing food, and mitigating environmental factors, such as flow and seawater chemistry. Ocean warming has a major impact on seaweed growth, survivorship, reproduction, and seasonality, yet little is known about the thermal niche, reproductive timing, or successional dynamics of most seaweed species. Shifts in seaweed communities can have significant downstream effects on marine ecosystems. The Sentinels project offers an unprecedented opportunity to integrate field collections, recruitment methods, and molecular data (e.g., DNA barcoding, metabarcoding, eDNA) to investigate the seasonality, successional dynamics, and environmental tolerances of NE Pacific seaweeds.

Parasites and microbiota: dynamic nature of life inside intertidal snails

UBC PI - Kayla King (, Chris Harley (
Hakai PI - Alyssa Gehman (

This project will explore the role of environmental variation (e.g., temperature, pH, salinity) linked with global change in shaping the dynamics of parasite infection and microbial communities in intertidal snails. Snails are often integral members of foodwebs, sentinels of environmental health, and hosts to symbionts reflecting the greater biodiversity in the ecosystem. Field observations on the Salish Sea coast and manipulations will be done in collaboration with community partners, and extensions to lab and/or microcosm experiments are possible.

You can view our currently available positions here:

Future Positions

Please reach out to the appropriate PIs for more information.

Intertidal biodiversity: pattern, process, and change

UBC PI - Chris Harley (
Hakai PI - Alyssa Gehman (

This project will use observational and experimental approaches to explore the combined role of abiotic and biotic drivers (e.g., temperature, pH, herbivory, biogenic habitat provision) in structuring benthic communities. Manipulations of temperature and community composition will be established at various rocky intertidal sites in the Salish Sea to determine how the strength of these processes varies within the larger oceanographic context of this complex inland sea.  Field observations and manipulations will be done in collaboration with community partners, and extensions to factorial laboratory experiments and/or modeling are possible.

Filled Positions

Marine Biodiversity Change: Connectivity and Multiscale Biodiversity Processes (Filled)

UBC PI - Mary O’Connor
Hakai PI/UBC Adjunct - Alyssa Gehman
Hakai PI - Margot Hessing-Lewis
Hakai PI - Matt Lemay

This focal project will build on the current knowledge and tools available in the Sentinels project to advance biodiversity change science. The project will involve collaboration with all Sentinels datasets and other Sentinels Postdocs. The postdoc will develop and test hypotheses based on ecological and biodiversity theory to explain biodiversity patterns, biodiversity change and habitat change in coastal marine ecosystems of the Salish Sea. The postdoc will conduct new analyses, draw upon existing data of recent biodiversity patterns involving multiple taxa, environment conditions and human activities to develop frameworks and model biodiversity and future scenarios. This framework will be used to quantify spatially structured risks to coastal biodiversity.

European Green Crab Population Monitoring and Ecophysiology ( Filled )

UBC PI: Alex Moore
Hakai PI: Margot Hessing-Lewis

Coastal environments across B.C., such as seagrass meadows and estuaries, are under threat from the rapid spread of the European Green Crab (EGC), an introduced species known to have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health and commercial activities. In order to monitor and predict EGC movement throughout the Salish Sea, this project will study ECG population recruitment and ecophysiology. Ecophysiology and thermal ecology approaches will be used to determine the thermal tolerance and physiological plasticity of local EGC populations at different life stages in order to assess invasion impacts in B.C. A variety of methods will be used to track ECG movement across the Salish Sea: crab-settlement devices, machine-learning techniques and other custom tools.

Diversity of Symbionts as a Tool for Assessing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health (Filled)

UBC PI: Laura Parfrey
Hakai PIs: Colleen Kellogg and Matt Lemay

Symbiosis is a ubiquitous feature of the natural world, but the biodiversity of symbionts is missing from most biodiversity inventories. Hosts, such as animals and macroalgae, are colonized by diverse communities of microbial symbionts that modulate development, train the immune system, defend against disease, and otherwise influence host biology. Biodiversity loss of hosts and changing environmental conditions will almost certainly alter the diversity and distribution of symbionts, with cascading influences on host and ecosystem health. However, we lack a predictive understanding of how these alterations will unfold and the consequences for host and ecosystem health. This focal project offers an unprecedented opportunity to integrate symbiont diversity into biodiversity monitoring efforts, and in doing so promises new insight into the contributions of symbionts to the diversity and health of hosts and ecosystems.

Symbiosis and Parasitism in the Salish Sea (Filled)

UBC PI - Patrick Keeling
Hakai PI - Alyssa Gehman

This project will focus on how parasites impact invertebrate recruitment and establishment, establish parasite-diversity baselines in the target sampling areas, and develop parasite profiles of key invertebrates, both of which can be tracked over the course of the project.

Parasites are thought to be the most diverse forms of life on Earth; they play key roles in individual invertebrates, as well as population-level and ecosystem-level changes. The diversity of parasites in marine invertebrates is therefore a component of understanding and monitoring biodiversity and effectively managing local populations. This project will employ high-throughput metabarcoding to characterize eukaryotic microbiomes, designs dedicated molecular monitoring tools, and uses single-cell sequencing to delineate the functional interplay between parasite and host.