A Look into the Interwoven Relationship Between Salmon Population and Soil Health 
in Respect to Organic Carbon

  • Jiyoon Chang
  • Leah Kim
  • Julian Kunik
  • Alexis Llewellyn
  • Mark Penner


Total Organic Carbon (TOC) found in soil is an indicator of the forest health and is indirectly related to the relative amount of spawning salmon. Our team studied two creeks; Spanish Bank Creek which sustains a consistent salmon run and Salish Creek, which has not had as much success. It was firstly hypothesized that Spanish Bank Creek would have higher levels of TOC than Salish Creek, because it has a higher yield of spawning salmon, and therefore a healthier creek. We took multiple soil samples from the mouth, middle and headwaters of each creek and applied a H2O2 catalyst to determine the percent decrease of organic matter, which is a presentation of TOC. In addition to our primary hypothesis, a secondary hypothesis was made pertaining to the levels of TOC at locations within each creek. It was predicted that the headwaters would have the highest levels of TOC, as this is where the salmon are dying. This study found that there was a significant difference (p = 0.0075) between the two creeks, where Spanish Bank had a greater average TOC (by 0.3 g), however there was no significant difference (p = 0.6015) in TOC levels among the locations within each creek.