Comox Valley Nature is pleased to host an online lecture by Natalie Mahara. The lecture entitled “Establishing a baseline of microplastics in marine food webs: a case study in Baynes Sound, B.C.” is on Sunday November 15, 2020, 7:00 – 9:00pm.

Given the current situation with the Covid-19 virus, Comox Valley Nature has made arrangements to have a live, online webinar for Natalie’s presentation. To register, go to: 


 Microplastics have emerged as one of the most ubiquitous global pollutants and can enter the marine food web either via direct consumption or by trophic transfer by consuming animals that have taken up microplastics. Researchers from the University of British Columbia worked closely with the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards and the K’ómoks Guardian Watchmen in 2019 to establish a baseline of microplastic concentration and composition in and around Baynes Sound and to estimate microplastic consumption and uptake by zooplankton, larval herring, and juvenile herring.

Natalie is a biological oceanographer with a particular fondness for the smallest components of marine food webs. Born and raised in Vancouver, Natalie chose to study at the University of British Columbia for her BSc and MSc degrees where she developed her passion for the interdisciplinary field of oceanography. She has worked on projects including describing estuarine plankton dynamics, understanding how zooplankton communities range across productivity regimes, reporting microplastics in marine food webs, and untangling the mystery of juvenile salmon diets.

This is an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about the potential impacts of microplastics in our area.

Comox Valley Nature is a non-profit society affiliated with BC Nature, consisting only of unpaid volunteers. CVN fulfills its educational mandate by hosting monthly lectures, organizing free weekly guided hikes for members, and a free monthly walk open to the public (these activities are temporarily suspended and will resume after the pandemic).  Comox Valley Nature also supports specialized groups (Birding, Botany, Marine & Shoreline, Conservation, Garry Oak Restoration, Wetland Restoration, Photography and Young Naturalists Club) which have separate monthly activities.  Membership in BC Nature and Comox Valley Nature is $30 per adult or for a family.

Founded in 1966, it is one of the oldest environmental societies on the North Island.  Meetings and lectures of the Comox Valley Naturalists Society are normally held on the third Sunday of most months at the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay.  However, we are currently hosting presentations by online webinars. Meetings are open to the public, including children and youth. The lectures are free, though a $4 contribution from non-members is appreciated. New memberships are always welcomed.

Anyone interested in this lecture or participating in CVNS activities can also contact us at the website  

David Innes

VP, Comox Valley Nature