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And the academic ‘Oscar’ goes to… marine ecologist, Anne Salomon

September 10, 2019
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To protect the future of our oceans, SFU marine ecologist Anne Salomon is diving into the past. By weaving ecology, archeology and Indigenous knowledge of ancient marine management practices of coastal First Nations with the latest scientific tools, Salomon is a modern-day time traveller whose ground-breaking research on kelp forests, clam gardens and small-scale fisheries is shifting the way we manage and understand our coastal ecosystems.

Salomon, an associate professor with the School of Resource and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment, has been named a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). This year, she joins seven SFU faculty members who have been inducted as Fellows.

The RSC recognizes leaders who have made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences. The College is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian leaders. Recognition by the RSC is Canada’s highest academic honour.

Salomon is an unconventional scientist. Through partnerships with coastal communities, she connects natural and social sciences with local and traditional knowledge to inform management decisions that foster both ecologically sustainable and socially just outcomes . Her research is advancing our understanding of the feedbacks between humans and the productivity, biodiversity and resilience of coastal ecosystems to inform relevant and robust marine conservation policy.

“Working with and learning from coastal Indigenous communities has been a source of inspiration, motivation, and a deep privilege,” says Salomon. “Sharing our curiosity, passion, and concern for our coast is what brings us together to formulate relevant questions, collect the data and make sense of it, together.”

Salomon and her students have worked for over a decade in uncovering the mysteries and mechanisms driving northwest coast kelp forests,ancient clam gardens and various coastal fisheries. The move to partner with First Nations communities proved to be a crucial component in better understanding how coupled human-ocean systems have developed, adapted to disturbances and evolved over the last millennia.

In 2013, she was the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation for her work on sea otter recovery and the tipping points they trigger in BC kelp forests. That same year, she was awarded the International Ecology Institute’s Top 40 Under 40 Professional Prize of Excellence.

“I am passionate about evidence-based decision making, collaborating with coastal communities and weaving diverse threads of knowledge together because by doing so, I firmly believe we can vastly improve our understanding of the natural world and better inform, inspire and catalyze solutions to the foremost environmental challenges facing our oceans today.”