We partner with the Hakai Institute Sentinels of Change initiative to monitor for larval Dungeness crabs at a site located in Ch’ax̱áy̓ / Horseshoe Bay.

This research project provides insights into where and when Dungeness crab larvae arrive during the warmer months of the year across the Salish Sea. Using illuminated traps that sit just below the ocean’s surface, they temporarily catch light-loving planktonic creatures – including Dungeness megalopae, the crabs’ last larval stage before they stop swimming and settle down as juvenile crabs on the seafloor. The timing of arrival and spatial distribution of young crabs are key to replenishing populations each year, and the number of new recruits has been shown to predict the abundance of adult Dungeness crabs years later. 

As part of a network of over 30 light traps throughout the Salish Sea, the light trap in Horseshoe Bay is contributing information to a large dataset. This year (2024) will be our third summer participating in this project!


Volunteer with us this summer!

We’re recruiting volunteers to help us regularly check the Horseshoe Bay light trap from April 15 – September 1, 2024.

Time commitment:

The light trap needs to be checked and emptied in the morning every 2 days from April 15 – September 1.

Depending on how many volunteers are on our team this year, the individual commitment will be approximately 1 day a week / every 2 weeks.

You can expect to be at the trap for between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on how many crabs are in the trap.

We do understand there may be times that you’re unavailable / on vacation during the summer, but we ask that for the majority of the summer you are available to check the trap once every week or two.

After we have selected volunteers, we will coordinate a schedule so you know your monitoring dates throughout the summer.


Horseshoe Bay, at the Sewell’s Marina dock.


We will provide all necessary training and equipment! No prior knowledge of crabs or research methods is required. We will provide ongoing support throughout the monitoring season.

A 1-hour in-person training session (exact date / time TBD) will occur at Horseshoe Bay prior to April 15th.


Please fill out this form by March 31st if you are interested in volunteering with this program. We do have a limited number of positions for this program, and as such, we will be selecting volunteers based on their availability throughout the monitoring season.


Connect with us at

Learn more about the program

2022 Report

Read the Sentinels of Change 2022 Light Trap Network Report here.


2023 Report

Read the Sentinels of Change 2023 Light Trap Network Report here.

Sentinels of Change

Learn more about the Sentinels of Change initiative here.

Thank you to our partners!

We couldn’t run this program without your support.