The Sea Around Us at Vancouver’s March for Science (PHOTOS)

Photo by Deng Palomares

Photo by Deng Palomares

“It was the most organized, punctual march I’ve ever attended,” the Sea Around Us‘ Graduate Student Madeline Cashion said about the March for Science that took place in Vancouver on April 22, 2017.

Some 500 people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza and, at 10 a.m., they started walking towards Creekside Park near Science World. Once there, an array of figures such as Dr. Scott Sampson, Paleontologist & CEO of Science World; Erin A’tman Ryan, Research Coordinator with the BC SPCA and member of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation; and Marine Biologist Abby Schwarz, among others, gave speeches that touched upon the importance of academic freedom and evidence-based policy making, the cuts to scientific research funding proposed by the U.S. government, and climate change denial.

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Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Thoughts on UBC’s Reconciliation Totem Pole

Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Text by Daniel Pauly

On April 1, 2017, a 17 m totem pole was raised at the south end of the University of British Columbia’s Main Mall. It is the Reconciliation Pole carved by Haida master carver and Hereditary Chief James Hart.

Hundreds of Vancouverites gathered for the event, which started at 1 p.m. with speeches by various First Nations dignitaries and dances. It was only shortly before 5 p.m. that the crowd -to which I belonged- on the small amphitheater to the south of the pole, was called on to tighten up the ropes that were laid along the field and connected to the semi-raised pole which was still resting on scaffolding.

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The Sea Around Us expands its global presence

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

We are proud to announce that Dr. Dirk Zeller, Senior Scientist and the Executive Director of the Sea Around Us has been appointed as Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Western Australia (UWA), a new position created at the UWA School of Biological Sciences and the UWA Oceans Institute. Dr. Zeller’s appointment supports the establishment of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node at UWA.

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“An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch” to screen at UBC

Missing Catch invitation 2

Following its premiere on Earth Day at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and on the Smithsonian Channel, award-winning ocean conservation film An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch will screen in Vancouver on April 28, 2017.

Join the Sea Around Us for this free screening at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries – in the AERL Lecture Theatre (Room 120), 2202 Main Mall. Screening will start at 11 a.m. RSVP REQUIRED.

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Cautious fish evolve out of marine reserves

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

New research supports the creation of more marine reserves in the world’s oceans because, the authors say, fish can evolve to be more cautious and stay away from fishing nets.

The research suggests that by creating additional “no-take” areas, some fish will stay within marine reserves where they are protected from fishing. While other fish will move around the ocean, these less mobile fish will continue to live in the protected areas, pass this behaviour on to their offspring, and contribute to future generations, increasing the overall stock.

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Making fisheries science accessible

Photo by Kyle Gillespie

Photo by Kyle Gillespie

Text by Madeline Cashion


Public speaking is an intimidating feat for pretty much everyone.

I am an extrovert who actively strives to listen more than talk (usually unsuccessfully…) while in conversation with any number of people, and yet I have a strong physical aversion to speaking in front of an audience in a professional setting. In part, this is because describing your science in a way that is accessible not only to other researchers but to a generalist, non-scientific audience is surprisingly tough. For example, terms that I use every day like gear, landings, discards, and exclusive economic zone are considered jargon to people who do not work with or study fisheries.

To a scientist, using common words in place of jargon seems imprecise and sensationalist. Science communication is difficult in any forum but can be almost impossible when you are in front of an audience and the immobilizing effects of the “fight or flight” response begin to eclipse your confidence.

Here’s a quick anecdote from a recent such experience of my own:

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The Women in the Sea Around Us

It is no secret that the proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is much lower than that of men. According to the global non-profit organization Catalyst, women accounted for less than a third (28.4 per cent) of those employed in scientific research and development across the world in 2013.

In Canada specifically, the percentage of women working in the STEM fields has increased only by 2 per cent in the past three decades to 22 per cent in 2015 from 20 per cent in 1987.

Things are slowly improving, but there is still a long way to go. This is why at the Sea Around Us we thought it was important to introduce you, our readers, to the female scientists whose work is key to the success of our project.

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A globetrotter in the search for new adventures

Darcy Dunstan

Darcy Dunstan moved to Vancouver in September 2015 and a month later he was already working at the Sea Around Us.

Even though he is from a small town called Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, this 20-something has always pushed to expand his horizons. First, he moved to the British Columbia capital to pursue a biology degree at the University of Victoria. Having grown up close to the ocean and having explored the underwater world since age 10, Darcy was convinced that he wanted to focus his career on marine biology.

Even before finishing his university degree, he was already combining his passion for traveling and his love for nature. In the summer of 2013, he spent a couple of months in Belize researching tropical ecology and culture. Later on, in February 2015, he flew to Thailand to help conduct coral reef and seagrass bed surveys at a marine conservation centre.
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Jellyfish fisheries research awarded by the Vancouver Aquarium

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 was a great day for the Sea Around Us’ postdoctoral fellow Lucas Brotz.

During the celebration of the 22nd Annual Coastal Ocean Awards, the Vancouver Aquarium presented Lucas with the Michael A. Bigg Award for student research “for his exceptional contributions to the understanding of jellyfish in waters around the world.” Specifically, judges were impressed with his global catch reconstruction of jellyfish as food for humans.

For Lucas, this honour closes with a flourish a decade’s worth of work under Daniel Pauly’s guidance and, at the same time, opens up new opportunities to continue exploring the almost uncharted world of jellyfish.

LISTEN to Lucas explaining the “shocking findings” regarding the amounts of jellyfish people eat worldwide.

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ON VIDEO: Daniel Pauly and the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries

The Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory 120 was packed and people on social media were frantically asking about how to join the Facebook Live stream.

For over an hour, the Sea Around Us Principal Investigator, Daniel Pauly, presented the methods and findings in the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries, which he published in late 2016 together with Dirk Zeller.

For those who could not be in attendance, the IOF’s communications department prepared series of videos that capture the highlights from Pauly’s presentation.

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