Ancient Clam Gardens and Ecological Enhancement on Northern Quadra Island, BC

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 10:30
, Ginevra - Simon Fraser University, Hakai Network
, Dana - Simon Fraser University, Hakai Network
, Kirsten - University of Washington

Clam gardens are a form of ancient mariculture and are documented along the Northwest Coast of North America from Alaska to Washington. A dense concentration of clam gardens on northern Quadra Island, British Columbia had a significant impact on past ecological and social landscapes. The construction of clam gardens not only increased the area of clam habitat but also enhanced shellfish ecology, ultimately aiding in clam growth. The bivalve productivity of clam gardens is assessed through 1) documenting overall increase in clam habitat, and 2) comparing the growth rate of clam shells from clam gardens and natural contexts. This analysis is expanding our ecological understanding of clam gardens, and enhancing our understanding of the extensive ecological knowledge of marine environments held by coastal First Nations.