Masoud Aali

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Earth Sciences

Citizenship: Iran

Accreditation: M.Sc in Exploration Geophysics - Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas

Hybrid Seismic Imaging on the Inner-Middle Shelf of the New Jersey (NJ) Continental Margin

The primary goal of my PhD studies is to use state-of- the-art geophysical and petrophysical methods in order to study sea-level change and constrain the complex forcing functions tying evolution and preservation of the margin stratigraphic record to base-level changes.

Andrea Buchholz

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology

Citizenship: Köln, Germany

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Aquatic Ecology - Lund University, Sweden

Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries in the North Atlantic - Responses and Management Implications Under Climate Change

Major biological changes in marine ecosystems have been associated with a changing climate both in the past and into the future. These changes have significant consequences for marine ecosystem structures and functioning, associated ecosystem services, and marine conservation measures. How these changes may play out on regional or ocean-basin scale is still largely unknown. My Ph.D. research addresses expected future changes in ecosystem dynamics and marine fisheries in the North Atlantic Ocean using meta-analytical techniques, spatio-temporal trend analysis, and mapping approaches. In this context implications for marine management and conservation on regional and trans-Atlantic scales will be identified in order to inform the development of effective management and adaptation policies.

Kristina Börder

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology

Citizenship: Bremen, Germany

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Marine Biology - University of Bremen, Germany

Interactions between large Marine Protected Areas and Global Fisheries

Out of the multiple anthropogenic ocean uses fishing is one of the biggest factors impacting marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Despite this knowledge, we have only limited understanding of how much fishing is happening, when, how, and where, especially in remote areas and the High Seas. To be able to efficiently coordinate fisheries management and conservation measures a better picture of the behaviour of the global fishing fleets is necessary. A novel tool to explore the movements of vessels on the oceans on a global scale is satellite AIS (S-AIS). I am using S-AIS tracks to detect, classify and map global fishing vessel movements and relate it to marine protected areas to see if fishing effort is attracted or displaced and how the fishing fleets interact with the protected areas.


Ana Corbalan Castejon

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Earth Sciences

Citizenship: Spain

Geophysical fingerprints of an exhumed serpentinized mantle domain at the ultraslow Southwest Indian Ridge and their application to the rifted margins of Eastern Canada

I am interested in using seismic waves to infer the inner Earth's structure, both at lithospheric and asthenospheric levels. During my Ph.D. I will first study the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge, where the rate of spreading has resulted in broad exposures of non-volcanic seafloor, and thus, it is believed that this setting may be analogous to early rifting stages of the non-volcanic rifted margins. I aim to assess the geophysical fingerprints of exhumed serpentinized mantle-derived rocks exposed at the seafloor of this mid-ocean ridge to later apply them to the magma-poor rifted margins of Eastern Canada. In the latter, a thick post-rift sedimentary package hampers the prediction of serpentinized mantle domains in the crust. To carry out the analysis I will use marine seismic refraction and reflection data to constrain seismic velocity models and reflection structure of the oceanic lithosphere, respectively.

Allison Chua

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Accreditation: BEng. Mechanical Engineering, MASc. Materials Engineering

Optimization and Use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles within a Co-ordinated Ocean Network for Scientific Observation

My research interests lie in the development and use of autonomous or remotely operated vehicles and their associated instrumentation for oceanographic measurement and exploration. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have special potential for application within co-ordinated networks of marine vehicles, such as MOSES (Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems) or ROBEX (Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments), both major initiatives of Germany’s Helmholtz Association. These networks include a stationary system that acts as a “home base” for energy supply and data exchange as well as mobile elements that can be deployed to explore large-scale, rapidly evolving ocean events. Technological advances in robotics and autonomy have enhanced our ability to provide real-time data of a large area, improving our understanding of ocean phenomena that have traditionally suffered from undersampling. This understanding is especially important today as we face unprecedented climate change and damage to our oceans from human interference.

Patrick Duplessis

M.Sc. Candidate, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science

Citizenship: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Accreditation: B.Sc. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Montréal, Quebec

Coastal Fog Microphysics and Chemical Composition

My project focuses on the microphysical properties of marine fog and aims at further understanding the ability of particles to form droplets in supersaturated conditions. Field measurements, laboratory experiments and climatological data are used to investigate fog at different levels. Our ultimate goal is to be able to not only predict the occurrence of fog, but to accurately predict its formation, dissipation and density.


Manuel Dureuil

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology

Citizenship: Radevormwald, Germany

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Biological Oceanography - Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Germany

Spatial ecology of North Atlantic shark populations

My PhD project aims at understanding the spatial ecology of North Atlantic shark populations in order to provide a scientific basis for top predator restoration programs and an ecosystem based approach in shark conservation. As part of the project, spatial distribution, migration patterns and critical habitat areas will be identified and the overlap with human activities such as fishing as well as the effect of oceanographic or prey species changes will be investigated. The results will help to develop comprehensive protection measures of threatened North Atlantic shark populations.

Mirjam Held

Ph.D. Candidate, Interdisciplinary PhD Program/Marine Affairs Program

Citizenship: Basel, Switzerland

Accreditation: MMM Marine Management - Dalhousie University, Canada

Understanding how the Western and Inuit knowledge systems can improve the sustainability of fisheries in Nunavut, Canada

My PhD research is part of the Fish-WIKS (Fisheries – Western and Indigenous Knowledge Systems) project which explores Western and distinct indigenous knowledge systems to inform fisheries governance and management in Canada. I will investigate how the different processes by which Inuit and Western science acquire, transmit, value and use knowledge can be harnessed to enhance the current regime of decision-making and consequently improve fisheries management in Nunavut.

Nadine Lehmann

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Bern, Switzerland

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Marine Biology - University of Rostock, Germany

The application of nitrogen isotopes to study physical processes and nitrogen transformation in the Arctic Ocean

As part of the Canadian Arctic GEOTRACES program, a research project on marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes, the focus of my work will be the cycling of nitrogen and the geochemical modification of waters as they flow from the Pacific to the Labrador Sea. I am interested in using the N and O isotopic composition of nitrate as a geochemical tracer to describe both nutrient cycling and water mass distributions in the Ocean.

John Christopher L’Esperance

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Nova Scotia, Canada

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Chemical Oceanography - Dalhousie University, Canada

Monitoring the dispersion of the intentionally released tracer, SF5CF3, with an instrumented unmanned surface vehicle

I am interested in Ocean Biogeochemistry, Ocean acidification and the development of analytical instrumentation.  My Ph.D. research involves the development of an unattended, gas chromatograph (GC) system for the detection of the conservative tracer, SF5CF3.  The system will be integrated with the snorkelling semi-submersible, Dorado vehicle (International Submarine Engineering, Port Coquitlam, B.C.) in support of intentionally released tracer studies.


J Scott P McCain

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology

Citizenship: Canada

Metaproteomic insights into marine microbial community function and biogeochemistry

I am studying how microbes function, and how these functions influence large processes in the ocean. To accomplish this, I primarily use metaproteomics to profile microbial communities. My project combines various bioinformatic approaches, laboratory-based experimentation, and biogeochemical modelling.

Helen Packer

Ph.D. Candidate, Marine Affairs Program

Citizenship: France

Corporate Social Responsibility in the North American and European tuna industry

My research focuses on understanding why and how tuna companies take responsibility for the sustainability of global tuna stocks. Specifically, I will investigate what issues tuna companies try to address, which tools these employ to influence the sustainable use of tuna resources and measuring the impacts of those activities.

Lorenza Raimondi

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Napoli, Italy

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Marine Science - Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy

Trends of Natural and Anthropogenic Carbon in the Labrador Sea over the last 25 years

My project aims at estimating the inventory and storage of both natural and anthropogenic carbon in the Labrador Sea. This region is particularly important for CO2 uptake due to deep water formation during winter time, that enhances storage of  gas in deeper layers of the ocean. During my PhD I will  assess whether the uptake and storage of carbon in the Labrador Sea has been changing over time.

Subhadeep Rakshit

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: India

Nitrogen dynamics and hypoxia in coastal regions

In my PhD project, I will study the nitrogen cycling in the Bedford basin. The coastal water are increasingly prone to anthropogenic nutrient input, which leads to eutrophication and resulting consumption of dissolved oxygen in water. Progressive change in oxygen concentration leads to shift in the redox reactions for nitrogen cycling. In my project I will collect field data and will apply mathematical approach to study this mechanism and will look for positive or negative feedbacks involved in such redox driven nitrogen cycling.

Najeem S

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: India

Acoustics of Hydrothermal Vents

My research field of interest is underwater acoustics, Where I primarily focus on the measurement and characterization of background noise in Ocean generated by natural processes. In my PhD research, I will be working on the physical properties of hydrothermal vents based on passive acoustic measurements. The measured noise data will be used to study the spectral and spatial characteristics of hydrothermal vent. Based on acoustic data analysis and appropriate sound propagation modelling the sound generating mechanism and physical properties of vents will be studied. Once the acoustic properties of hydrothermal vents are understood, background sound measurement can be later used for the localization of new vent sites. Passive acoustics, signal processing, sound propagation modelling and geoacoustic inversion are my topics of interest in Ocean acoustics.


Irena Schulten

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Haselunne, Germany

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Marine Geosciences - Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany

Reassessment of the 1929 Grand Banks submarine landslide

I am highly fascinated by the multidisciplinary field of marine geosciences and its unexplored depths. Geophysical techniques offer the unique possibility to collect, analyse and interpret data from areas, which are too extensive for high resolution sampling or difficult to access. I am especially interested in their application to potential high risk areas, such as submarine slides on continental shelves.Therefore my PhD-thesis will be focussed on the analysis of seismic and hydro-acoustic data in order to analyse and interpret seafloor structures and possible submarine hazards.

Ricardo Arruda Monteiro da Silva

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Assis, São Paulo, Brazil

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Physical, Chemical and Geological Oceanography (FURG) - University of Rio Grande, Brazil

Air-Sea CO2 Fluxes Spatio-Temporal Variability in the North Atlantic Ocean

My Phd project will use new field data from Volunteer Observing Ships (VOS), wave gliders and moorings to estimate air-sea fluxes of CO2 in the NW Atlantic Ocean. These new data, combined with existing data, will be used to establish accurate, year-round estimates of air-sea CO2 fluxes. My project will also explore an intercomparison of different underway pCO2 systems and platforms.

Meghan Troup

M.Sc. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: United States

Using ROVs for Surveying In Shallow Water Systems

My research focuses on engineering a remotely operated and autonomous hovercraft to collect and analyze sonar data in very shallow waters (<1m) and in areas where the current is strong and tidally forced. These sonar data will be used for bathymetric surveys, habitat mapping, and other analyses with applications to large scale processes such as sea level rise and how it affects these small-scale environments.

Yuan Wang

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Yun-Gui Plateau, China

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Oceanography - School of Marine Sciences, USA

Temporal and Spatial Variability of Circulation and Hydrography over the Eastern Canadian Shelf and Adjacent Northwest Atlantic Ocean

The circulation and hydrographic variability in the eastern Canadian shelf and its adjacent deep waters has significant implication on not only coastal ecosystems, but also the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation. I am using a coupled ocean-ice circulation model, based on the Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO) to examine main physical processes affecting the temporal and spatial variability of: (1) the buoyancy fluxes from the Labrador Current to the North Atlantic Current to the east of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and (2) the shelf-ocean exchange on the eastern Canadian Shelf.

Completed Students

Jonathan Lemay

M.Sc. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: New Brunswick, Canada

Accreditation: B.Sc. in Marine Biology and Oceanography - Dalhousie University, Canada

Inter-annual variability of carbon on the Scotian Shelf

My research is currently focused on the inter-annual variability of carbon on the Scotian Shelf.  My methods for data collection are twofold.  The first being a buoy ~30km off Halifax harbour collecting hourly measurements of pCO2.  The second is water collection along 4 major transects across the Scotian Shelf.  These water samples are analysed to get dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), and DI13C values.  Using this data I hope to make inferences on what regulates inorganic carbon cycling on the Scotian Shelf over seasonal to annual time-scales.


Jenni-Marie Ratten

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology

Citizenship: Preetz, Germany

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Immunology - Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany

The isolation and characterization of novel phototrophic and heterotrophic diazotrophs in the Atlantic Ocean

I study the distribution and characterization of marine nitrogen fixers (also called diazotrophs). This is a distinct group of prokaryotic and archaeal microorganisms that can turn dinitrogen gas into biological available ammonium. Until about a decade ago it was believed that the majority of dinitrogen fixation in the ocean was performed by Trichodesmium. However, recent phylogenetic studies show that the diazotrophic diversity is much greater.

Gennavieve Ruckdeschel

M.Sc. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: New York, United States

Accreditation: B.Sc. Honours in Marine Biology - Dalhousie University, Canada

Euphausiid ecology and water mass associations in Roseway Basin, measured from ocean gliders

As part of the Whales Habitat and Listening Experiment (WHaLE), my MSc research focuses on characterizing a baleen whale feeding habitat on the Scotian Shelf. Using acoustic and hydrographic data measured from ocean gliders deployed in Roseway Basin, I am studying variation in euphausiid krill abundance and how water masses and bathymetry can explain variation in euphausiid distributions. The use of high-resolution data from ocean gliders is a novel approach for investigating euphausiid ecology on the Scotian Shelf, and by characterizing known feeding habitats also supports ongoing baleen whale conservation efforts.

Rui Zhang

M.Sc. Candidate, Department of Oceanography

Citizenship: Shandong Province, China

Accreditation: M.Sc. in Integrated Management of Marine Resources and Rights - Ocean University of China, China

Numerical studies of biological dynamics in the northwest North Atlantic Ocean: From physics to fish

Ecosystems in the northwest North Atlantic Ocean are characterized by complex hydrographic and biological conditions, have suffered from fish stock collapses in the past few decades and are facing threats from warming, ocean acidification and de-oxygenation. Efforts to manage and conserve marine ecosystems will require a better understanding of the underlying causal mechanisms that determine how climatic variability and anthropogenic activity affects ecological processes. The objectives of my thesis are to evaluate ecosystem responses to natural and man-made external forcings in the northwest North Atlantic from three different perspectives: 1) by quantifying the primary processes controlling nutrient dynamics and primary production on the Scotian Shelf using a physical-biological coupled model, 2) by demonstrating the relative roles of climate change and fishing in driving fish stock variations using a marine upper trophic-level model, and 3) by examining Atlantic salmon population dynamics using an age- and stage-structured time-dependent matrix model.