Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Geosciences and Earth Sciences
Sonni Tadlock - Northwest Indian College
Co-Author(s): Skye Augustine, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Sidney, BC Marco Hatch, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA
Maintaining healthy ecosystems to ensure food security during a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges for current and future generations. This challenge is even greater in Indigenous communities where food systems and ecosystems are inextricably linked. Indigenous communities, since time immemorial, have shaped the environments around them to create and maintain highly productive food systems. An example of this relationship is First Nations in British Columbia use of ancient mariculture such as clam gardens, a purposely constructed rock-walled terrace that has been shown in previous studies to increase the habitat and productivity for bivalve species to increase the area of collection for their traditional foods. To date, no study has documented the traditional foods available in the rock wall structure of a clam garden, a gap this study aims to fill by quantifying the edible species found within the rock wall structure compared to a nonwalled beach. This was done using low tide observational surveys to measure the abundance of edible invertebrate found within the intertidal portion of the rock wall. Preliminary data analysis show marked differences in the abundance and diversity of edible species found at walled site compared to the controlled non-walled site, which provides evidence that clam gardens are gardens of much more than just clams. This work supports a growing understanding that Indigenous communities have been active managers of ecosystems and food systems for thousands of years, and highlights the positive relationship that can exist between increased ecosystem productivity and abundance of traditional foods.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF
Faculty Advisor: Marco Hatch,