Kira Krumhansl

Kelp forest ecology



Over the past several years, I’ve been working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hakai Institute and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Here, I’m collaborating with Dr. Anne Salomon and the Heiltsuk First Nation to conduct research that examines how canopy disturbance caused by harvest impacts the productivity, resilience, and provisioning of ecosystem services by kelp forests. I am also engaged in research examining how gradients in ocean conditions impact the biomass, productivity, and ecological performance of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera).

Prior to coming to SFU, I was an applied benthic ecologist at the Centre for Water Resources Studies (CWRS) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My research at the CWRS took me all over arctic and sub-arctic Nunavut, where I studied the response of soft-sediment communities in coastal areas to human disturbance. Our work will inform the management of wastewater treatment systems throughout the Canadian North.

I completed my PhD at Dalhousie University in 2012 under the supervision of Dr. Robert Scheibling, My research examined the environmental and biological factors that influence the production of detritus from kelp forests ecosystems, and explored the linkages between kelp forests and adjacent systems through the transfer of detritus.

Over the past several years, I’ve also been working intensively as science coordinator for Ocean Tracks (; a science education project that aims to bring real scientific data into high school classrooms in a fun and accessible way. We developed an interactive web interface that allows students to follow great white sharks, bluefin tuna, and elephant seals around the Pacific Ocean, and analyze their movements in relation to oceanographic phenomena. IMG_3950

My research has taken me to some of the most beautiful places on earth: remote Pacific atolls on a sailing ship, the deep sea aboard the Alvin, the remote high arctic in Nunavut, and the rocky, rugged coastlines of Nova Scotia and British Columbia. I am happy to call the underwater world my office, and to be working at the boundaries of science, education, and management.


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