Jane Watson

Emeritus Professor
Department of Biology
Vancouver Island University
900th Fifth St
Nanaimo BC
Canada v9R 5S5

Phone: 250-740-6347

Email: Jane.Watson@viu.ca

Research area(s):

  • Fisheries oceanography
  • Invertebrates
  • Marine conservation
  • Marine mammals
  • Plankton

Area of Expertise:

Dr. Jane Watson’s academic training and practical experience is in marine ecology, with particular emphasis on community ecology. Her primary research interest has been in how marine vertebrates affect and interact with coastal ecosystems on ecological and evolutionary scales. Her current research is on sea otter community ecology particularly in how sea otter predation affects nearshore community structure and prey life history characters. Much of her past experience has involved studies of small coastal fisheries. She believes that the resolution to many conservation issues and resource-use conflicts lies in education and local involvement in conservation activities and research. Her approach to ecology is multi-disciplinary; she has been involved in academic and applied studies of sea otters, pinnipeds, cetaceans, marine birds, marine fish, algae, macro-invertebrates and plankton as well as archaeology.

Some of the projects undertaken by past students she has supervised include:

  • Foraging ecology of sea otters.
  • Crab predation on red turban snails.
  • Hauling out behaviour of harbour seals.
  • Seasonal variation in the diet of river otters (scat analysis).
  • Sand dollar behaviour in response to simulated predation.
  • The effects of sand dollar burrowing on sea grass beds.
  • The effect of size on turban snail locomotion.

Select Presentation(s) / Publication(s):

Hessing-Lewis, Margot; Rechsteiner, Erin U.; Hughes, Brent; Tinker, M. Tim; Monteith, Zachary L.; Olson, Angeleen M.; Henderson, Mathew Morgan; and Watson, Jane C., “North to south: ecosystem features determine seagrass community response to sea otter foraging” (2018). Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. 136.

Rechsteiner, Erin & B. Wickham, Sara & Watson, Jane. (2018). Predator effects link ecological communities: kelp created by sea otters provides an unexpected subsidy to bald eagles. Ecosphere. 9. e02271. 10.1002/ecs2.2271.

Ebert, Thomas & M. Barr, Louis & Bodkin, J & Burcham, Dirk & Bureau, Dominique & Carson, Henry & L Caruso, Nancy & Caselle, Jennifer & Claisse, Jeremy & Clemente, Sabrina & Davis, Kathryn & Detwiler, Paul & Dixon, John & O. Duggins, David & M. Engle, John & A. Estes, James & D. Groth, Scott & Grupe, Benjamin & Halmay, Peter & Zhang, Zane. (2018). Size, growth, and density data for shallow-water sea urchins from Mexico to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 1956-2016. Ecology. 99. 761. 10.1002/ecy.2123.

Krumhansl, Kira & Okamoto, Daniel & Rassweiler, Andrew & Novak, Mark & Bolton, J & Cavanaugh, Kyle & Connell, Sean & Johnson, Craig & Konar, Brenda & Ling, Scott & Micheli, Fiorenza & Norderhaug, Kjell & Perez-Matus, Alejandro & Sousa Pinto, Isabel & C Reed, Daniel & Salomon, Anne & Shears, Nick & Wernberg, Thomas & Anderson, Robert & Byrnes, Jarrett. (2016). Global patterns of kelp forest change over the past half-century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113. 10.1073/pnas.1606102113.

Watson, Jane, “Spatial and temporal variation in kelp forest composition off the NW coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia” (2014). Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. 106.

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