People

Aaron MacNeil

Associate Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Fisheries Ecology

Originally from Wolfville, NS Canada, Aaron is a marine ecologist working to solve small-scale fisheries problems in the context of climate change, using Bayesian models to integrate across disciplines and make inferences about how the world works. He has worked extensively on interdisciplinary projects in coral reef ecosystems throughout the Indo-Pacific and is applying these approaches to a wide range of stakeholder-relevant projects globally. Aaron contributes extensively to the fisheries and ecology literature in areas relating to environmental disturbance, human impacts, fisheries livelihoods, and food web structure. He has been honoured with a Fisheries Society of the British Isles Medal for his contributions to fisheries science, a Eureka Prize for interdisciplinary research, and currently heads the Integrated Fisheries lab at Dalhousie University.

Chris Mull

Postdoctoral Scholar

Chris grew up in Hermosa Beach, CA where his passion for marine biology — sharks and rays in particular — started while seeing leopard sharks in the water surfing and exploring kelp forests on Catalina Island.  Since he was three Chris has pursued a career working with sharks and rays, and has focussed on developing a suite of skills and perspectives to use sharks and rays as a model system. Chris now works as a marine biologist and ecologist and conservation biologist. He has worked on everything from physiological ecology and reproductive biology of round stingrays, analytical chemistry and toxicology, phylogenetics and comparative analysis, brain evolution, databases, and movement ecology. Chris focusses on bringing a holistic approach to studying sharks and rays, often working on large collaborative efforts such as SharkEDGE (www.sharktree.org), SharkTraits (www.sharktraits.org), and the SharkRayMPA project. At the iFisheries lab, Chris will be working as part of large collaborative team to uncover the global shark meat trade and to help develop a suite of tools to assist in shark and ray biodiversity hotspots that have limited capacity for fisheries management and reporting.

Matt McLean

Postdoctoral Scholar

Matt developed a fascination with aquatic ecology spending his childhood playing in Wisconsin lakes and rivers, and after first seeing a coral reef as a teenager, he set his heart on a career in marine biology and conservation. After earning a BS in ecology from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Matt worked as a fisheries observer in the Bering Sea and as a fisheries technician along the shores of Lake Michigan. Still captivated by coral reefs, Matt pursued his MS in coral reef ecology at the University of Guam Marine Lab, conducting research on coral reef resilience and small-scale fisheries in Micronesia. Having witnessed the coral reef crisis first hand, and the need to prioritize ecosystem functioning in resource management, Matt next pursued a PhD in functional ecology at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, studying the functional-trait dynamics of fish communities in the North Sea and English Channel. As a postdoctoral researcher at Dalhousie, Matt is studying the present and future status of reef ecosystem services as part of the international collaborative project Reef Futures (https://www.biodiversa.org/1426)

Ana Martins

Postdoctoral Scholar

Born and raised in São Luís, northeastern of Brazil, Ana’s fascination for the underwater world began at an early age while playing in Amazon rivers and on beaches of the Brazilian shores. Ana’s interest in marine science grew with time and she pursued a career working on sharks and rays. She completed a BSc in Biological Sciences and a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at the Universidade Federal do Maranhão, studying the supply chain and conservation status of sharks based on traditional fisher knowledge. Ana next pursued a PhD at James Cook University, Australia, where she integrated biotelemetry approaches and stable isotope analysis to refine the ecological roles of juvenile stingrays in coral reef ecosystems. Ana is now driven to work in areas of spatial and trophic ecology, human dimensions of fisheries resources, and sustainability and conservation, specially in developing nations with multifaceted socio-economic and cultural structures. As a postdoctoral researcher at Dalhousie University and the iFisheries lab, Ana is currently working on a multiyear project that aims to unravel the global shark meat trade.

Taylor Gorham

PhD Candidate

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.  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 global fisheries.  Taylor is undertaking her PhD research as part of project Global FinPrint, and her focus is on strategies for sustainable management of tropical reef shark fisheries.  She is currently working on methods to assess data-limited shark populations using fishery-independent visual survey data.   

Suchinta Arif

PhD Student

Suchinta grew up in Toronto, ON, always vaguely aware that she needed to be near the ocean instead! Her passion for Biology solidified as she continued her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Toronto. During the end of her degree, she decided to head to Bamfield, BC, where she immersed herself in 3 months of field courses at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. This is where her passion for Marine Biology started. She then pursued a MSc at Saint Mary’s University studying the conservation genetics of the St. Lawrence beluga population. She is currently a PhD student at the MacNeil Lab studying the causes and consequences of marine regime shifts, with a particular focus on coral reefs and temperate demersal banks. Aside from research, Suchinta also enjoys teaching, and has taught several undergraduate Biology courses at Saint Mary’s University, and has mentored several undergraduate students through their independent research projects. 

Tracy MacKeracher

Phd Student

Raised in Calgary, AB Canada, Tracy’s interest in the marine environment was ignited when she learned to scuba dive as a teenager. She pursued this interest during her BSc (Honours) at the University of Victoria, during which time she completed field courses and research at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. In 2015, while working for a non-profit organisation in the Philippines, Tracy’s focus shifted to the human dimensions of marine conservation. She then went on to complete her MSc at James Cook University in Australia, where she gained training and research experience in the social sciences through coursework and employment. With an interdisciplinary background in marine biology and social sciences, Tracy is committed to a career working with people to better understand, conserve and manage fisheries for mutual benefit. As a member of the Integrated Fisheries Lab at Dalhousie, Tracy’s PhD research aims to understand and quantify the socio-cultural, ecological and economic processes underpinning the sustainability of Nova Scotia’s lobster fisheries.

Natalie Klinard

PhD Student

Natalie’s interest in aquatic ecosystems and environmental conservation stemmed from growing up in Windsor, ON Canada along the shores of the Great Lakes. Her research journey began in her BSc (Honours) in Environmental Science at the University of Windsor during which she studied the spatial ecology of sunfishes in the Detroit River using acoustic telemetry. Her growing passion for the Great Lakes and ecology led her to pursue a MSc at the University of Windsor, where her research focused on applying acoustic telemetry to understand the post-stocking behaviour of a reintroduced fish in Lake Ontario. At a broad level, Natalie’s research interests centre around the conservation, restoration, and management of aquatic resources with a focus on fisheries. At the Integrated Fisheries Lab at Dalhousie, Natalie’s PhD research aims to quantify the global shark meat trade to increase transparency in the meat trade, improve management of shark populations, and achieve sustainable fishing.

Zoya Tyabji

PhD Student

Having spent her summers in a coastal city of India, Zoya was fascinated by the marine ecosystem since an early age. She pursued a B.Sc. in Zoology and Biochemistry, and an M.Sc. in Biodiversity in India. Soon after her masters, she worked as a marine educator, and was part of a team studying coral reef resilience in a local NGO in the Andaman Islands of India. Following which she conducted an independent study on the fisheries and trade of sharks and rays in India. Her research interests include understanding the various and complex interactions between humans and marine systems through an interdisciplinary lens. At the Integrated Fisheries Lab in Dalhousie University, Zoya is part of the Global Shark Meat Trade project, aiming to investigate the shark and ray meat trade of India.

Aaron Judah

Honours Student

Hailing from Toronto, ON, Aaron has cultivated a passion for the ocean since he was three. Being raised in a diverse environment and intersecting cultures, Aaron was able to explore the seas while visiting relatives and reefs far away. He is currently a senior at Dalhousie University, and is pursuing a BSc. in Marine Biology. His research seeks to investigate environmental and human-induced shifts in marine communities using a toolkit of statistical models, trait-based ecology, and a good dose of team spirit. He also hopes to incorporate an understanding of socio-ecological systems, resource use, and human livelihoods in conducting research through a holistic lens. Aaron’s Honours Thesis will focus on exploring the functional biogeography and trait dynamics of global and regional reef shark assemblages as part of project Global FinPrint. Additionally, Aaron works on lab projects involving the shark meat trade, functionally distinct reef fishes, and small-scale coral reef fisheries. In the future, Aaron seeks to be immersed in research and conservation, with an aim to uncover and advocate for the functional significance of marine life, especially in important habitats such as corals reefs and the deep sea.