Subtidal Kelp & Kelp Ecosystem Services (WG2)

Subtidal Kelp & Kelp Ecosystem Services (WG2)
Scuba diver counting animals in a quadrat.


Document, compare, and ensure interoperability of methods and metrics associated with subtidal monitoring (e.g., SCUBA, remotely operated vehicle, drop camera) of kelp forests in Washington and British Columbia. Bring together methods and data to identify gaps and opportunities in subtidal monitoring to improve management outcomes.

Specific goals are to:

  1. Improve organization and access to subtidal kelp data and metadata

  2. Assess kelp forest ecosystem health and services between regions and over time

    2a) Improve standardization of methodologies to enable comparisons 

  3. Establish a process for providing actionable information to inform management and policy actions associated with subtidal kelp monitoring

    3a) Identify change points of kelp forest ecosystem health

    3b) Inform co-design of management and policy

    3c) Both inform and respond to implementation of new policies

Subtidal Kelp & Kelp Ecosystem Services (WG2)
Kelp crab on a stipe up close.

Priority Actions & Deliverables

These objectives and deliverables were mapped out by the group in the first WG1 meeting. They are a work-in-progress and will continue to be refined. 

  1. Identify and compare existing survey protocol methods and metrics 

    1a) Compare SCUBA-based versus ROV-based surveys

    1b) Review and collate standards for SCUBA-based methods

    1c) Review and collate standards for imagery and data processing for ROVs

  2. Create an evolving georeferenced database and mapping tool for subtidal monitoring data that records which groups are collecting data, provides a contact person (data manager), and moderates accessibility as needed to respect confidentiality

    2a) Story map with data collectors and managers

    2b) Framework to extract or extrapolate these data for other areas

  3. Identify standardized kelp indicators that can be measured using different subtidal survey methods (SCUBA underwater visual census, ROV surveys, BRUVs) to identify the ecosystem status/health and services of kelp forests

    3a) Don’t stop at metrics but look for triggers and targets that we might expect to see with climate change

  4. Annual report card on indicators (with triggers and targets to show when management actions are needed)


  • Jennifer McHenry, UVIC (CAN)

  • Dayv Lowry, NOAA (USA)

  • Joanne Lessard, DFO (CAN)

  • Sharon Jeffery, DFO (CAN)

  • Lynn Lee, Parks Canada (CAN)

  • Ondine Pontier, Hakai Institute (CAN)

  • Eliza Heery, UW Tacoma (USA)

  • Ross Whippo, University of Oregon (USA)

Updates & News

Revisit previous meetings (link to Meeting Recordings and Meeting Notes)

Working Group Materials

Access WG2 materials here (link to shared drive)

How to join

Register for Working Group 2 here