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Kristen Walters, Research Associate

Kristen is a Masters of Science candidate at Simon Fraser University where she is studying the role bald eagles play in coastal food web dynamics and nutrient cycling to better inform ecosystem-based management strategies for salmon populations. She originally hails from Jackson, Wyoming U.S.A, where she grew up surrounded by the abundant wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and passionate citizens who aim to be responsible stewards of our ecosystems.

Knowing she wanted to be involved with wildlife conservation from the age of 4, she landed at the University of British Columbia for her undergraduate degree to focus on environmental law. After completing her BA in Environmental History, she soon found herself ‘getting her hands dirty’ in the field, and has since transitioned to biology.

Kristen is passionate about interdisciplinary approaches to conservation initiatives by collaborating with people of all backgrounds and professional fields. In her free time, you can find Kristen adventuring in the mountains, fly-fishing and attempting to play her guitar.

Kristen Walters working with a net in the stream bed.

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Dispatches by Kristen

Moving marine-derived nutrients from the sea to the land

Across the Pacific Northwest, if you look around the estuaries of any salmon spawning rivers you will see little white heads peppering the green canvas of trees that surrounds the river’s mouth. These little specks are bald eagles, which have migrated hundreds of kilometers to opportunistically scavenge post-spawning carcasses that accumulate on riverbanks during the salmon spawning season. This mass ...
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Waters of the Great Bear Rainforest turn a milky turquoise with Pacific herring during spawning.

Protecting (marine) subsidies – nutrient flows from ocean to land

Each spring along the coast of British Columbia, the typically calm nearshore waters begin to churn with thousands of spawning fish, turning the deep blue water a milky turquoise. Ranging from California to Alaska, Pacific Herring are a schooling forage fish that constitute the largest amount of vertebrate biomass in marine ecosystems. As intermediaries between the bottom and top of ...
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An eagle sits watching over a BC coastal stream.

First rains bring spawners and bald eagles back to Vancouver Island rivers

Last fall, while the dry start to autumn put the brilliant golds, reds and oranges of tree leaves on display, my mind continuously returned to the rain. Not the rain that many dread, but the rain that floods small watersheds and raises the water levels in the rivers, bringing the salmon back en masse and with them the bears, bald ...
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