8 December 2013 – Much silliness at the E2O Xmas party

Xmas pics


5-6 December 2013 – 2020 Vision of Canada’s Ocean Dialogue

WoskI co-organised the capstone conference of the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network at the spectacular Wosk Centre for Dialogue in downtown Vancouver.

Here are my first attempts at storifying the tweets of the the morning and afternoon of the first day.




15 November 2013 – Postdocs galore!

Dr Remi Daigle is joining the lab for a short while, to work on a Canadian version of the Ocean Health Index – a CHONe venture in collaboration with Phil Archambault in Rimouski, QC.

lais picture TCCWe also found out yesterday that Dr Lais Chaves, from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, was awarded a ‘Science without Frontiers’ postdoc fellowship from the Brazilian government to join us for 18 months.  Lais is going to tackle various aspects of lionfish population dynamics.

Welcome to both!



31 October 2013 – TMEL wins the Biology pumpkin carving contest!


Our beautiful pumpkin-anglerfish, and the happy winning team!

28 October 2013 – At a Greenpeace-organised workshop in Toronto

I addressed a room full of representatives of Canada’s major seafood retailers today to talk about the science behind why we need more marine reserves.  This is not my usual audience! I was delighted by how receptive and engaged these business people were.

17 October 2013 – Brett got a job!

Two months into his Liber Ero post-doc, Brett got offered a permanent job!!  Next January, he will start his position as Research Scientist at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, a research unit within the Marine Institute, which is part of Memorial University in St John’s, Newfoundland.  So, he’ll be an RS at CSAR based at MI at MUN. Congrats, Brett!

11 October 2013 – We’re going to need a bigger hat!

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Dr Brett Favaro convocated today, and they really did have to give him a plus-size hat!

Brett was picked by SFU News as one of a handful of inspiring stories: Engaged graduand safeguards fish.  Read about it here.




10-13 October 2013 – ScienceOnline Oceans – here I come!IMG_1961

It was 25 balmy degrees when I arrived in Miami for the first-ever Science Online Oceans conference.  I ran a workshop on podcasting (Ocean science in 60 seconds) with my partners in crime, Emily Darling and Karen McLeod (from COMPASS), and learned lots about communication and outreach.  I also got to hug an octopus (well, not a real one).

September 2013 – Summer highlights and the start of a new year

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been that long since I posted something here.  The summer and start to the semester have been very busy.  Some highlights of the past couple of months:

  • Natascia spent an inspiring time at Hopkins Marine Station in California, after being selected to attend an Ocean Policy course at the Center for Ocean Solutions.
  • Luis and his team collected nearly 1,500 samples of fish and seaweeds from patch reefs around Cape Eleuthera.
  • Lady Brett (now known as Just Brett) successfully surveyed green crabs around Barkley Sound, Quatsino (northwest Vancouver Island) and Bella Bella (Central Coast).
  • I managed to go diving a few times this summer and collect some sea cucumbers for a new project on connectivity and MPA network design.

Everyone is back at SFU now.  Although it’s felt something like a changing of the guard in the lab, with Emily, Steph and Sir Brett now fledged and off to their respective post-doc positions, we were all delighted to welcome Nicola and Fiona in early September.  Check out their profiles in our People pages.

Congrats to Nicola for landing two major Bahamian academic awards: a Bahamas Ministry of Education scholarship and a Lyford Cay scholarship!

19 June 2013 – Back from Santa Barbara

I just spent a couple of days at NCEAS with Phil Archambault (of CHONe) and Ben Halpern and Julia Stewart, learning about the Ocean Health Index and how we can customise it to Canada’s three oceans.

Phil and Ben

12 June 2013 – Dr Green and Dr Darling

Convocation today. Don’t Steph and Em look wonderful? I am really privileged to have had these incredibly talented women in my lab.

Emily smallIMG_1384 Steph small




31 May 2013 – And the Governor General’s Gold Medal for Emily!

Emily Darling

What a day!!  It’s now official: Em has won the Governor General’s Gold Medal, the most prestigious award that students in Canadian universities can receive.  The Dean of Graduate Studies has posted a great profile of ‘SFU’s most outstanding graduate student in Engineering/Medical Sciences/Natural Sciences’.  Congrats Emily (who is currently counting fish in Belize)!

31 May 2013 – Liber Ero success for Brett!

Sir Brett has just accepted a Liber Ero post-doctoral fellowship!! This is a new program, modeled after the prestigious Smith Fellowships in the US (which both Emily and Steph got this year), which supports exceptional early-career conservation scientists to conduct and communicate research that informs applied conservation and management issues relevant to Canada.  Only four were given out this year. Congrats!!

19 May 2013 – May miscellany

Tomorrow, Sir Brett and I are off to Bamfield, where we’ll be teaching and TAing Marine Behavioural Ecology for 3 weeks.  Lady Brett and Kyla are coming too to start their surveys of green crabs around Barkley Sound.

DSCF9007The other day, Luis set a trap near a patch reef, hoping to catch a few high-level predators such as groupers and snappers.  Much to his surprise, he got something much closer to the apex: a large barracuda.  He managed to fin-clip it very carefully (!) through the mesh and release it.

Good news!  Fiona Francis, who is joining us from Dalhousie University in September, just got awarded an NSERC scholarship for her MSc.  Well done, Fiona!

14 May 2013 – A very special addition to the TMEL family

257 Former TMELers Dr Marianne Fish and Dr Phil Molloy proudly announce the safe arrival of Amara Isabelle  (My namesake!!  I’m honoured beyond words).  Welcome Amara, and well done Phil and Marianne !



12 May 2013 – Off to sunny Kelowna

TMEL members headed east to attend the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution.

9 May 2013 – Sir Brett becomes Dr Favaro

Brett successfully defended his PhD thesis today.  He gave an awesome presentation, complete with prawn trap and bycatch reduction devices as props.

30 April 2013 – Supreme nod to Sir Brett’s leadership

Brett has been accepted into the Recruitment of Policy Leaders program!! The RPL program recruits exceptional candidates into mid- to senior-level policy positions in the Public Service of Canada. Only 40 to 50 recruits are selected from more than 1 200 applications each year. The selection process is grueling, with multiple interviews aimed at identifying applicants who have the drive and potential to shape the future of Canada’s public policy landscape.  Successful applicants rarely come from the biological sciences so this is an amazing feat.

30 April 2013 – A week in GermanyBremen

I’m off to Bremen today to take part in an evaluation of the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology.



April awards

In April, I became a Fellow of the Pacific WildLife Foundation, as well as a research advisor to the Board of the Vancouver Aquarium.

29 April 2013 – Welcome Kyla!

First day at work today. Kyla Jeffrey joins the lab for the summer as a USRA.  She will be working alongside Lady Brett on invasive green crabs.

23 April 2013 – Luis and Severin off to the Bahamas

Luis and USRA Severin Vaillancourt (welcome to the group!) left today for Eleuthera for 12 weeks of fieldwork.  Luis is studying the effects of invasive lionfish on trophic energy flows on coral reefs.  Sev is examining site fidelity and habitat use of yellow stingrays.

11 April 2013 – The Earth to Ocean PIs scrub up for special evening


We tidied ourselves up to honour Val and Dick Bradshaw as this year’s SFU Distinguished Community Leadership Award winners.  A rare event to have all 6 PIs together, and looking so good too!

28 March 2013 -Nancy Baron at SFU

Science communicator extraordinaire Nancy Baron was at SFU today, where she met with grads from the E2O group and gave an inspiring departmental seminar.

22 March 2013 – MPA panel at the Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium hosted an expert panel to discuss ‘The importance of Marine Protected Areas in Canada’.  I was one of the panelists, along with Phil Dearden from UVic (see photo from 14 October 2012), Alexandra Barron from CPAWS, and Scott Vaughn, Canada’s Environment Commissioner.  We spoke to a full house.  Emily did a fab job live-tweeting and storifying the event.

19 March 2013 – Marine Policy paper out!

Our paper on the influence of costs on the likelihood of listing fish species under SARA is finally out!  This project was led by Jessica Schultz, who did a USRA in the lab a couple of summers ago.  Here’s the pdf.  Podcast soon to come.

25 February 2013 – Model scientists

The lab did a professional photo shoot a couple of weeks ago, and the results are in!  Don’t we look…professional?  See more photos here


5 February 2013 – High commendation for Brett F!

Brett F’s paper introducing the TrapCam was just highly commended and chosen as runner up for the Robert M. May Young Investigator’s Prize in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.  Woohoo!

Brett commendation

30 January 2013

Emily,EmilyDarling_Photo Luis and I flew back to Vancouver today, after nearly a month in Eleuthera.  It was super-productive: we’ve already submitted one paper from our work there and have a full draft of another.  Oh, and we had fun too!



09 January 2013 (a little later) – CONGRATULATIONS!!

Success x 2.  Unbelievable!!!!  Well done, ladies!

09 January 2013 – Good luck, Steph and Emily!!

TMEL has not one but two finalists for Smith Fellowships this year.  Completely awesome performance by Steph and Emily to be in the last 8 of hundreds of applicants.  Knock’em dead!

04 January 2013 – Eleuthera in January

Luis and I have just arrived at the Cape Eleuthera Institute to do some fieldwork for a month.  We’ll be joined later by Emily and Stephanie.  We’re trying out methods to survey reef invertebrates to start getting at the impact of lionfish on them.  Not easy…but fun!