Research and monitoring

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Bats | Eelgrass meadows | Migratory shorebirds | Wild About Wolves research project | Southern Resident Killer Whale research project


Parks Canada monitors the health of key ecosystems within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on an annual basis. The results of this monitoring work can alert Parks Canada to stressors on sensitive habitats and prompt further steps to protect these areas.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve also collaborates with a wide range of universities, researchers, and non-governmental organizations to conduct research and undertake management actions.

Monitoring and actively protecting the natural heritage of this protected place helps Parks Canada ensure that Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s ecological integrity is maintained for generations to come.


(Photo: Brock Fenton)

Among small mammals, bats are unique in their long lifespans, low reproductive rates and dependency on specific habitats and features — all factors which make them an ideal species to monitor and understand ecosystem change.

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Eelgrass meadows

(Photo: Luba Reshitnyk/Hakai Institute)

Eelgrass is a green, ribbon-like sea plant that grows in patches of mud or sand near the shore’s low tide line. This plant is at the foundation of Vancouver Island’s coastal food webs. The region’s economy and fishing industry is connected to the health of this delicate plant.In lush eelgrass meadows, a microscopic algae grows, feeding snails, shrimp and other small invertebrates. These small creatures become food sources for larger species, including juvenile Pacific Herring, Coho Salmon and English Sole. Above the water, a diversity of bird and mammal species forage among the eelgrass in the security of sheltered harbours and estuaries.

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Migratory shorebirds

(Photo: S. Tyne/Parks Canada)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is located on the Pacific Flyway—a super highway for migratory birds connecting the tundra of Alaska and the Canadian north with the tropics and subtropics of Central and South America. Thousands of shorebirds stop on the sandy beaches of the west coast to rest and feed before continuing their journey. For resident birds and some migrants, the beaches are also where they look for mates and raise their young.

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Wild About Wolves research project

(Photo: Remote wildlife camera)

When you visit Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, you are in wolf territory. Parks Canada is increasing its understanding of local wolf populations and the factors that contribute to potential conflict with people. Wild About Wolves is a five-year research project that looks to further improve coexistence between people and wolves by raising visitor awareness of the species and the importance of sharing space.

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Southern Resident Killer Whale research project

Southern Resident Killer Whale surfacing

(Photo: A Southern Resident Killer Whale surfacing)

Parks Canada, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Indigenous partners, non-government organizations and academia, is increasing its understanding of Southern Resident Killer Whale distribution in the marine waters of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and how they interact with the ecosystem as a whole, keeping with the Nuu-chah-nulth principle hišukiš t̓swak (everything is one). Over the next five years, a science and monitoring program will be in place to address the three key threats to the survival of Southern Resident Killer Whales: prey availability, physical and acoustic disturbance, and contaminants.

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