Kelp forest communities along an otter gradient

Despite their profound and prolonged ecological and societal consequences, regime shifts are notoriously difficult to anticipate. For example, in kelp forest ecosystems the cascading effects of sea otters are well known to trigger shifts between forested and deforested rocky reefs, however forecasting when and where these shifts will occur a priori remains a key challenge because previous studies tend to use binary or categorical levels of otter presence. To illuminate this knowledge gap, we sampled benthic reef communities at 20 sites along a continuous gradient in sea otter occupation time (0-33 years) along the central coast of British Columbia, Canada where otters are recovering after over a century of local extinction. This dataset contains diversity, size, and abundance data on benthic invertebrate and fish species and abundance and diversity data on kelp species along a gradient of otter occupation. Because of the regression style sampling protocols, this dataset can be used to characterize tipping points between kelp forest vs. urchin barren states along the Central Coast of BC.

Access and Use

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Data and Resources



Dataset extent

Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Metadata Reference Date(s) September 23, 2021 (Publication)
September 23, 2021 (Revision)
Data Reference Date(s) July 01, 2013 (Creation)
August 28, 2015 (Publication)
Frequency of Update As Needed

Responsible Party 1
Anne Salomon
Simon Fraser University
  • Custodian
  • Distributor
  • Owner
  • Point of Contact
  • Principal Investigator

Field Value
Ocean Variables Other
Scope Dataset
Status Completed
Topic Category oceans
Maintenance Note Generated from
Spatial Extent { "coordinates": [ [ [ -128.770751953125, 51.33404377878941 ], [ -127.74902343749999, 51.33404377878941 ], [ -127.74902343749999, 52.19077237113535 ], [ -128.770751953125, 52.19077237113535 ], [ -128.770751953125, 51.33404377878941 ] ] ], "type": "Polygon" }
North Bounding Latitude 52.19077237113535
South Bounding Latitude 51.33404377878941
East Bounding Longitude -127.74902343749999
West Bounding Longitude -128.770751953125
Temporal Extent
Vertical Extent
Default Locale English