Fathom Fund Projects


Nathan Vadeboncoeur, “Stand up for a healthy coast – the Coastal Pollution Mapper”
Killer whales and salmon are icons of the West Coast. These animals represent nature’s raw beauty and embody the Sea to Sky country by connecting mountains with ocean. It’s hard to imagine a world without them, but their survival in the Salish Sea is uncertain.

There are 78 remaining southern resident killer whales and these creatures have arguably the highest levels of toxic contamination of any species on the planet. This is a result of human impacts on their habitat. Salmon populations are also under stress and are migrating northward in response to a changing climate. Maintaining the current populations of these species in the Salish Sea requires thoughtful management of our impacts on their marine world.

Read more on the Fathom Fund site

Andrew Medeiros, “Sable Island’s vulnerable ecosystems in a changing climate”
The focus of this project is to work in collaboration with Parks Canada to assess biological and environmental information for the freshwater systems of Sable Island National Park Reserve (NPR).

The deliverable for this project will be two-fold:

The development of a biomonitoring measure for the freshwater ecosystems of Sable Island NPR and;
The creation of a model to project the sustainability of these ecosystems with respect to future environmental change.

Read more on the Fathom Fund site

Summer Locknick, “Supporting safer coastlines: Exploring the social dimensions of rip current hazards”
Rip currents (also known as rips and rip tides) are a common hazard on beaches worldwide that develop when breaking waves across a wide surf zone vary alongshore. Rips are believed to be responsible for a majority of rescues and fatalities on beaches around the world. In Canada alone, it estimated that 80% of all drownings and rescues are associated with rips. While we understand how and where rips form, the physical dimensions of the hazard, we understand very little about the social dimensions of the hazard. Until we understand how people use the beach and when and why they decide to enter the water, it is difficult to be able to reduce the number of drownings.

The proposed research will take place at popular beach destinations on the north shore of Prince Edward Island where there are known rip currents near the main access point to the beach, and despite warning flags and a lifeguard program, there have been several drownings in recent years.

Read more on the Fathom Fund site

Max Liboiron, “Democratizing marine plastic pollution science through DIY instrumentation”
BabyLegs is a build-it-yourself research net (trawl) for monitoring plastic pollution in surface water. The invention was created by Dr. Max Liboiron, Director of Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University, who is turning the trawl into an accessible kit with an online community forum in partnership with Public Lab for Open Technology.

Created with baby’s tights, soda pop bottles, and other inexpensive and easy-to-find materials, BabyLegs can be used to trawl for floating microplastics from the surface of the water.

Read more on the Fathom Fund site

Audrey Moores, “From combatting invasive species in National Parks to producing degradable plastics: A Green Solution”
One third of the world’s plastics end up in the ocean where they biopersist, creating formidable challenges for wildlife and habitats. Audrey Moores and her team at McGill University have discovered an innovative way to turn crustacean shell waste into biodegradable plastics, which could break down under oceanic conditions.
We are seeking community support to turn this invasive species challenge into a global solution to the plastics dilemma. By using biochemical components of European green crab, not only will this project develop a marine biodegradable plastic, but it will also enhance the recovery of deteriorated coastal ecosystems and provide a new industry to sustain coastal fishing communities.

Read more on the Fathom Fund site