Jackson W.F. Chu

Image Melissa O'Hara
Postdoctoral Researcher

Benthic Ecologist focused on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems of Seamounts. Expertise in cold water sponges and corals, community ecology, and deep-sea exploration.

Current research and/or projects

I am a visiting postdoctoral fellow in the Marine Ecology and Analysis (MSEA) Section within the Ecosystem Sciences Division. My expertise is in using advanced subsea technology (remotely operate vehicles, advanced cabled observatories) to map, monitor, and predict how deep-water fish and invertebrate assemblages respond to habitat variability.  My research methods and background are grounded in ecology and I have spent the last decade working on various animal communities found in the deep waters of coastal British Columbia (glass sponge reefs, cold water coral and sponge communities, soft-sediment communities, hard- substratum wall communities, and benthic communities living in severely hypoxic habitats).

Research and/or project statements

  • Benthic ecology of deep-water fish and invertebrate assemblages.
  • Species distribution modelling of cold water sponges & corals on northeast Pacific seamounts.
  • Influence of variable hypoxia on epibenthic fish and invertebrate communities in the northeast Pacific Ocean.
  • Community mapping, distribution modelling, and ecology of glass sponge reef communities

Professional activities / interests

  • Deep-sea biology and ecology of epibenthic communities.
  • Applied use of remotely operated vehicles and ocean observatories

Education and awards

  • PhD Marine Ecology, Department of Biology University of Victoria, 2016
  • MSc, Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 2010
  • BSc, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 2006

Key publications

Primary Publications: 

Chu JWF, Curkan C, Tunnicliffe V. 2018. Drivers of temporal beta diversity of a benthic community in a seasonally hypoxia fjord. Royal Society Open Science

Kahn AS, Chu JWF, Leys SP. 2018. Trophic ecology of glass sponge reefs in the Strait of Georgia. Scientific Reports 8(756)

Chu JWF, Gale KSP. 2017. Ecophysiological limits to aerobic metabolism in hypoxia determine epibenthic distributions and energy sequestration in the northeast Pacific. Limnol. Oceanogr. 62: 59-74. (dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.d28j8.2)

Chu JWF, Tunnicliffe V. 2015. Oxygen limitations on marine animal distributions and the collapse of epibenthic community structure during shoaling hypoxia. Global Change Biol. 21: 2989-3004. (dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.1p55v)

Kahn AS, Yahel G, Chu JWF, Tunnicliffe V, Leys SP. 2015. Benthic grazing and carbon sequestration by deep-water glass sponge reefs. Limnol. Oceanogr. 60:78-88.

Chu JWF, Reiswig HM. 2014. Mechanisms of propagule release in the carnivorous sponge Asbestopluma occidentalis. Invertebr. Biol. 133: 109-120.

Chu JWF, Leys SP. 2012. The dorid nudibranchs Peltodoris lentiginosa and Archidoris odhneri as predators of glass sponges. Invertebr. Biol. 131: 75-81. (dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.3tc7s) 

Chu JWF, Maldonado M, Yahel G, Leys SP. 2011. Glass sponge reefs as a silicon sink. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 441: 1-14 (dryad doi: 10.5061/dryad.5j5r0)

Chu JWF, Leys SP. 2010. High resolution mapping of community structure in three glass sponge reefs (Porifera, Hexactinellida). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 417: 97-113. (dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.j5925)

DFO Reports:

Chu JWF, Gasbarro R, Tunnicliffe V. 2018. Epibenthic community structure along a dissolved oxygen gradient. In: State of the physical, biological, and selected fishery resources of Pacific Canadian marine ecosystems in 2017 (eds. PC Chandler, SA King, RI Perry). Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Gasbarro R, Chu JWF, Tunnicliffe V. 2017. Epibenthic community structure along a dissolved oxygen gradient. In: State of the physical, biological, and selected fishery resources of Pacific Canadian marine ecosystems in 2016 (eds. PC Chandler, SA King, RI Perry). Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3225.