Associate Professor Aaron MacNeil

Originally from Wolfville NS, Aaron’s interest in the sea began in summers spent on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, bringing him to Dalhousie University in 1997 to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. He holds a MS degree in fisheries from the University of Georgia (USA) and a PhD from Newcastle University (UK). A former Senior Research Scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Aaron was thrilled to return home to Dalhousie in 2017, where he teaches statistical ecology and population estimation within the Department of Biology.

Graduate Students


PhD Student Taylor Gorham

Taylor spent the better part of her childhood underwater in Bermuda and has been enchanted with the sea ever since.  Her research interests centre around the impacts of wild-capture fisheries on the marine environment, and more broadly on effective solutions for balancing food security with biodiversity conservation goals.  She holds a BSc from McGill University (Canada), and an MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London (UK).  Before returning to Canada, she spent three years working for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), where she helped to assess the impact of sustainability certification on fisheries.  Taylor is undertaking her PhD research as part of project Global FinPrint, and her focus is on global strategies for sustainable management of coral reef sharks.

PhD Student Holly Steeves

Originally from Saint John NB, the surprisingly large catches in the East China Sea are reached by the ecological process of prey release. The removal of large predatory species from the ecosystem releases a substantial production from their prey, smaller species that are usually kept in check by predatory fish (Fig. 1). In this manner, the fishery can harvest what would otherwise have been eaten by the predators. This ecosystem cultivation parallels how humans turned from hunter-gathering to agriculture: By removing grazers from crops and isolating grazers from predators, the production of crops and meat for human consumption could be increased to levels beyond what natural ecosystems could support.

PhD Student Suchinta Arif

Originally from Toronto ON, Suchinta completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, specializing in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This is where she realized her love for ecology, conservation, and research. She was introduced to marine biology while taking field courses at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in BC, and has since remained in this field. She is currently a PhD candidate looking into the potential recovery of the Northern Cod through the use of acoustic telemetry.

MMM Student Andrea Mast

Originally from Montreal QC, Andrea spent 16 years in Latin America where her passion for the ocean developed. She completed her bachelors degree in marine science and environmental studies at the University of San Diego in California before coming to Dalhousie University to complete her masters degree in Marine Management. Her current research focuses on using a bayesian hierarchical model to estimate the relative effects of top-down and bottom-up governance arrangements on net reef fish biomass benefits from MPAs.

Undergraduate Students

Honours Student Reid Steele

Originally from Edmonton, AB, Reid spent much of his summers on a family lake lot, learning to love the water and fishing. Now a Marine Biology Co-op student at Dal, Reid is interested in global seafood sustainability through aquaculture and fisheries management. Experienced in aquaculture and aquaculture research due to co-op work terms, Reid is now learning about fisheries management and modelling with the Integrated Fisheries Lab.


Undergraduate Student Aaron Judah

Originally from Toronto ON, Aaron cannot remember a time when he was not captivated by the ocean. With ocean conservation and ecology in mind, Aaron spent his summers in high school volunteering with Global FinPrint doing shark and ray tagging in Belize and assisting in deep sea macrofauna ecology research at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Aaron is currently in the first year Integrated Science Program at Dalhousie University and hopes to complete an Honours degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography upon graduation. In the future, he hopes to dive deeper into shark and ray conservation, coral reef ecology, deep sea biology, and marine stewardship.