Investigate. Inform. Inspire.

Published Scientific Literature

Raincoast is a team of scientists and conservationists that undertake primary research and publishes peer-reviewed science to inform our conservation objectives. As an evidence-based, conservation science organisation (science ENGO), that operates a research lab, research field station and a research/sailing vessel, we are unique in Canada.

A map of disease vectors is overlayed on a photo of a Norwegian Fjord, with a headline at the bottom: Hypermobile human predators.

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government and other NGOs to gather information and build support for decisions that protect marine and terrestrial ecosystems, their components and processes. We conduct applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for the conservation debate and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

Our 2012 PLoS paper uses grizzlies to assess harvest impacts of sockeye fisheries. It’s an example of how ecosystem objectives can be considered in salmon management.

Recent papers

A wolf prances across the ice with all four feet frozen in time floating above the ice, a chart floating in the distance.

Recommendations towards greater transparency in the science, science communication, and values-driven processes of natural resource management

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A new paper, published by a team of researchers including Raincoast scientists, dives into the tangle of cognitive bias, institutional agendas, human interests, and pays special attention to the role of undisclosed value judgments.
A map and a science figure from Christina Service's paper hover in the foreground with a Spirit bear scratching their ear in the background.

Research: Dietary differences among individuals with different genes and coat colours gives insight into the maintenance of the Spirit bears among black bear populations

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The paper, “Intrapopulation foraging niche variation between phenotypes and genotypes of Spirit bear populations,” was published in the open-access journal Ecology and Evolution.
A tiny juvenile Chinook salmon in a viewfinder in the Lower Fraser River.

Chinook salmon exhibit long-term rearing and early marine growth in the Fraser River, B.C., a large urban estuary

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Using tiny salmon ear bones, or otoliths, Raincoast researchers and partners were able to demonstrate that Chinook salmon from Harrison River rely on the Fraser estuary for one to two months while they feed and grow. These findings underscore the critical nature of this habitat for the persistence and recovery of Chinook salmon…
An infographic about the Fraser Estuary overlayed on top of an underwater photo of some salmon.

Research: Conservation in heavily urbanized biodiverse regions requires urgent management action and attention to governance

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A new open access research paper led by Dr. Tara Martin at the UBC Conservation Decisions Lab applied a novel conservation decision making tool called Priority Threat Management to identify the most cost-effective management strategies needed to address the threats facing 102 species at risk identified in the area…
A Southern Resident killer whale fin above the water in the Salish Sea with graphs from a research paper in the foreground.

Research: Compliance of small vessels to minimum distance regulations for humpback and killer whales in the Salish Sea

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The rise of vessel traffic, the growth of the whale watching industry, increased interactions between whales and small vessels, and the precarious existence of Southern Residents in particular, has given rise to some regulations from the federal government that attempt to mitigate the harm these interactions pose…
A wolf walks across the beach in the early morning light, with figure 1 in the foreground.

Research: Addressing poor statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou

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The scientists looked closely at the data provided in a previous study that examined how 18 caribou populations responded to different treatments including wolf culls, maternal penning, moose reduction, and combinations thereof, as well as controls. There were important errors in the statistical methods associated with that prior study…
Juvenile Spirit bear and black bear mother stand by a river with salmon strewn across the bank.

Study: Spatial patterns and rarity of the white‐phased ‘Spirit bear’ allele reveal gaps in habitat protection

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New research has identified that the small genetic change responsible for Spirit bears – a rare, white-coated form of black bears – is up to 50% rarer in the Great Bear Rainforest than previously estimated. The study also indicates that geographic hotspots, where the Spirit bear version of the gene was especially prominent lack adequate protection from resource extraction…