The interdisciplinary approach I favour can be traced to broad training and a wide network of mentors and collaborators. My scholarly roots were established by earning a PhD in Evolution and Ecology from the Biology Department at the University of Victoria with Dr. Tom Reimchen. Postdoctoral opportunities took me to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I worked with Dr. Chris Wilmers.
Throughout this scholarly preparation, I also worked closely with conservation leaders from First Nations communities of coastal British Columbia. These important relationships guide my research interests. Although many conceive these collaborations as opportunities to develop the capacity of First Nations, my students and I view them as prospects to develop our own capacity as applied scholars.
Additionally, much of my development can be traced to a long-term affiliation with the science-based eNGO Raincoast Conservation Foundation, having served as its Director of Science. To Raincoast I owe a great debt, for it is through this relationship I have been mentored by Dr. Paul Paquet. Paul joins us in the lab as a senior mentor for us all.
This background has cultivated in me a sense of responsibility to engage in outreach. Trained in science communication, I enjoy serving as a media ambassador for nature and universities.
Teaching and mentoring students, however, is my favourite form of outreach. Currently, I teach GEOG 391 (Contemporary Topics in Coastal Conservation) and GEOG 353 (Coastal and Marine Resources) during the spring term. Jessie Housty and I also teach a field course about integrating western science and indigenous knowledge in the use, monitoring and study of resources. This course takes place at the fabulous Hakai Beach Institute in the Heiltsuk and Wuikinuxv Territories in the Great Bear Rainforest.
My “Faces of UVic Research” video: