Field measurements in Sydney Harbour, Nova Scotia

Dr. Bruce Hatcher (University Chair in Marine Ecosystem Research, Director of the Bras d’Or Institute, Associate Professor of Biology at Cape Breton University (CBU)), Hailey Shchepanik (an intern at CBU), and Samuel Consolvo (a master’s student at Virginia Tech) participated in a three-day marine survey in the NW arm of the Sydney Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada.  The harbor feeds into the North Atlantic Ocean.  The purpose of this work was two-fold; firstly to conduct preliminary field research pursuant to Dr. Hatcher’s proposal entitled Measure to Offset the Effects of Benthic Habitat Loss associated with Dredging on Fishery Production in Sydney Harbor, and secondly to further Mr. Consolvo’s research project entitled Geotechnical Investigation of Bivalve-Sediment Interaction with regard to Bivalve Farms as a Self-sustained Scour Mitigation Method.

The field marine survey took place from Monday, November 19, 2018, through Wednesday, November 21, 2018 (3 days).  Field instrumentation deployed included a portable free-fall penetrometer device called the BlueDrop, a ponar grab sampler, hand-pushed core tube samples from diving, and a CTD device.  The field survey included 226 BlueDrop deployments, 4 hand-pushed harbor-bed core samples, 2 grab samples, and 5 CTD deployments.  Based on field observations, the harbor-bed in the NW arm sediments appear to be primarily fine-grained and soft.

A thank you goes to those involved in coordinating travel logistics, shipment of samples preparations, and the institutions providing the necessary funding for this field survey.  The hope of this research is to determine the suitability of the harbor surface and near-surface sediments to support a surface coating of shale and shell fragments to enhance benthic habitats.  If the current surface sediments are found as reasonable suitable, this could lead to an increase in the scallop population and subsequently improve the local fishing economy.

To read more about Dr. Nina Stark’s research, please visit her Research Group Blog: