Dr. Sara Iverson
Sara grew up in Michigan, spending her summers on the waters of northern Lake Huron. There, she nurtured her passion for animals, nature, and conservation from an early age. She pursued her B.Sc. in zoology at Duke University. Following a post-graduate research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology, she began her long association with the department of zoological research at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo, first as a PhD student (jointly with the University of Maryland) working on the physiological ecology of sea lions in the outer California Channel Islands and subsequently as a long-term Smithsonian research associate.
After receiving her PhD, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University and then a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) international postdoctoral fellowship at the Canadian Institute of Fisheries Technology to work primarily on developing methods for elucidating marine mammal diets and aquatic food webs.
In 1994, Sara became a professor in the biology department at Dalhousie University, establishing a long-term research program on physiological ecology and fat metabolism in marine mammals, seabirds and Holarctic bears. Sara is a former NSERC EWR Steacie Fellow, Killam Prize Awardee, University Research Fellow, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science.
Sara became the scientific director of OTN as it was being launched in 2008 and has co-led and directed OTN with executive director, Fred Whoriskey, ever since. Together, they have overseen the growth of OTN from its launch as a seven-year International Joint Venture Project into a preeminent Canada Foundation for Innovation national research facility (Major Sciences Initiative). Although continuing to run her lab, research program, and oversee OTN, Sara still returns every summer to Michigan’s northern Lake Huron to sail, swim and spend time with childhood friends and family.
Dr. Fred Whoriskey
Fred was born and raised in Massachusetts and received his B.Sc. (honours) in 1976 from Brown University. He worked as a research assistant for five years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before obtaining his PhD from l’Université Laval in 1984. Following his PhD, he held a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at the University College of Wales (now Aberystwyth University).
Fred worked as an associate professor at McGill University from 1986–1995, and has held appointments as an adjunct professor with the University of Guelph, the University of New Brunswick, and McGill University, and as an associate professor (non-tenure track) at Dalhousie University.
Fred joined the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) in 1995, where he served as vice president, research and environment. While at ASF, he led science-based public policy activities and helped develop the organization’s science programs, including using acoustic tracking as a tool for documenting long-distance migrations of salmon.
In Canada, he has served on the boards of the AquaNet National Centre of Excellence in Aquaculture, the Atlantic Salmon Research Joint Venture (2019- present), the Canadian Rivers Institute (chair from June 2016 to present), and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (chair from 2003-2011). Internationally, he is a member of the management board and steering committee of the European Union’s SeaMonitor Project, and a science advisor to Germany’s MeerWissen Initiative.
In addition to his science administration work, Fred has published extensively in the area of fish biology and ecology. He has been heavily involved in public policy issues, and has worked broadly in public education and environmental impact evaluation. He received a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 2008, the ASF Lee Wulff Award in 2010, and is a frequent public speaker.
Fred became the executive director of OTN in 2008, and has directed the organization with Sara Iverson, scientific director, ever since. Together, they have overseen the growth of OTN from its launch as a seven-year International Joint Venture Project into a preeminent Canada Foundation for Innovation national research facility (Canada Foundation for Innovation Major Sciences Initiative).
SENIOR OPERATIONS MANAGER
Evelien developed a deep appreciation of the natural world at a young age as she tagged along with her parents exploring Canada’s vast wilderness. After completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, she moved to Halifax to pursue a master’s degree at Dalhousie University. While at Dalhousie, she worked with Parks Canada to study movement patterns of the invasive European green crab in southwest Nova Scotia. She obtained her project management professional designation in 2020.
Evelien joined OTN as a project manager in 2018, with a background in project management, advocacy, and organizational development for non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and the Ecology Action Centre. In her current role as senior operations manager, Evelien is closely involved in strategic planning and program development. She also oversees project and operational activities and manages the global network.
Evelien’s passion for adventure has led her to explore some of Canada’s wildest and most remote places. When not in the office, she can often be found hiking, paddling, or training in Olympic weightlifting.
Since a young age, Meghan has had a love for nature and animals, with a particular fascination for the ocean. After completing her B.Sc. in biology, Meghan moved to Halifax to pursue a Master of Marine Management degree at Dalhousie University. Since graduating, Meghan has gained experience advancing marine conservation, enhancing ocean education, and creating environmentally focused employment opportunities for youth.
Meghan joined OTN as a project manager in early 2021 and brings her passion for healthy oceans and coastal communities to her everyday work. She is responsible for managing the OTN equipment loaner program, facilitating funding applications and supporting operational activities.
Meghan is a travel enthusiast and loves spending her spare time outdoors with her dog
SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER
Jessica was born and raised in Nova Scotia where she developed a great appreciation for the coastal lifestyle and all the fascinating interconnections between land and sea. She has worked in environmental conservation for nearly 10 years in various project management and communications capacities within the non-governmental sector. She completed her Master of Marine Management degree at Dalhousie University in 2018 to blend her passion and experience with a strong desire to focus her efforts on coastal and ocean projects. Since then, she has been involved in community-based coastal resource management research, conservation and stewardship of nesting seabird islands, and ocean education and literacy initiatives.
As a member of the project management team, Jessica supports project and operational activities, including OTN’s loaner program, funding applications, reporting, and communications.
In her spare time, Jessica is an avid surfer, and she also loves gardening for Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
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Anja graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 2012, with a major in international development studies and a minor in political science. In 2016, she received an advanced diploma in public relations from the Nova Scotia Community College.
Anja manages all aspects of OTN communications and enjoys the layered nature of integrating research, strategic planning, project management and creative content development into her role. Collaborating with stakeholders, Anja shares OTN’s research and activities with many audiences, including: media, government, industry partners and the public sector.
Anja draws inspiration from books, people, places, landscapes and creative pursuits, and in her spare time, volunteers her graphic design and web development skills to animal rescue organizations, both nationally and abroad.
Amanda has been exploring the Bay of Fundy in Atlantic Canada since she was a child. Determined to learn more about life under the sea, she decided to undertake a B.Sc. in marine biology at Dalhousie University before enrolling in a journalism program at the University of King’s College, where she later completed an MFA in creative non-fiction. Her passion is storytelling and she’s currently studying more effective ways to communicate with the public about science as part of an M.Sc. in science communication and public engagement.
Amanda began working as the communications advisor for OTN in 2022.
Her other interests include cooking, hiking, and photography.
Maggie developed a passion for the ocean and conservation from an early age as she grew up exploring the beaches along the Northumberland Strait. This led her to pursue a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in geography from Memorial University. After completing her degree, she gained experience in communications and project coordination while working at non-profits and charities including Women in Science and Engineering, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and volunteering on the board of directors of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium and the Back to the Sea Society.
Maggie began working with OTN in 2019 and coordinates special projects and outreach events, creates content for the website and social media, and develops communication materials.
In her free time, she enjoys paddleboarding, cross country skiing and crafting.
DIRECTOR, DATA OPERATIONS
Jon graduated from Dalhousie University with a B.CSc. in 2005. He is a seasoned data manager, with experience servicing biological oceanographic buoys in Lunenburg Bay, as well as working in a lab seeking an optimal strain of phytoplankton for biofuel production. He has also held roles as a technician and database designer for ocean observing using marine autonomous vehicles, as well as shipboard profiling instruments.
Jon joined OTN as a data portal manager in 2015, a role that expanded quickly with the volume and diversity of data and data collection techniques in the marine biologging space. Jon is now the director of data operations for OTN. In this role, he coordinates regional telemetry communities and data managers and archivists around the world to design schemas for biologging methods that can be integrated with global marine biodiversity databases such as the Ocean Biodiversity Information System. He helps to design pipelines to join the global understanding of technology-assisted knowledge from the presence, habitat, and spatial distribution of aquatic animals.
DATA ACQUISITION COORDINATOR
Naomi grew up running wild on the waters of Georgian Bay, Ontario. A self-taught sailor, avid swimmer and canoeist, she began scuba diving at 15, loving the quiet exploration of the marine environment.
She turned her curiosity and enjoyment of the outdoors into a multifaceted career path, including a B.Sc. in biology and earth sciences from Dalhousie University, a stint working on the buoy deck of ships in the Canadian Coast Guard, and an advanced diploma in oceans technology from the Nova Scotia Community College and then filling multiple diverse roles at OTN.
As OTN’s data acquisition coordinator, Naomi works with OTN collaborators to ingest project records from hundreds of researchers around the world into OTN’s data system. She supports data managers at partnered data nodes via training, as well as ongoing troubleshooting of their data management processes. Naomi was certified in 2019 as a data carpentry instructor, formalizing her experience as a bioinformatics trainer.
Brian was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He worked in computer programming for the ocean technology sector for more than 15 years before he joined the OTN.
During a federal internship at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Bedford Institute of Oceanography, he worked on the digitization and filing of historical fisheries records, gaining valuable experience with a broad diversity of bioinformatics data. He continued at DFO on contract for several geographic information system related projects.
Brian accepted a position with OTN in 2011 as a data-oriented programmer and now manages a growing team of programmers, supporting OTN’s suite of biological data analysis applications and database management tools.
In his role as lead developer, he primarily focuses on creating and maintaining packages used by OTN’s node managers to quality control and load data. Brian is passionate about improving user experience across the many OTN data systems—whether it be developing new features in web applications, extending new features for existing enterprise document management systems, or building standalone client-side applications.
Angela completed a B.Sc. in psychology and math, a bachelor of computer science, and a master of applied computer science at Dalhousie University. Her training included diversity of data and oceanography courses.
Angela was first introduced to OTN during a track-a-thon in 2015. During the summer of 2017, she worked as a data analyst for OTN between classes. Angela became the database manager on OTN’s data team in 2018. She is responsible for the design, security, and accuracy of OTN’s database, working with international data partners to make sure their data systems work well with OTN’s database, and helping maintain code to automate processes and build generalized reports of the data from the database.
FIELD OPERATIONS-DATA ACQUISITION COORDINATOR
Coming from a landlocked province, Caitlin developed a love of the water through many years of competitive swimming and exploring the Great Lakes. In 2013, she moved to Halifax to pursue marine biology.
Through Dalhousie University’s co-op program, she was introduced to marine acoustics and ocean technology and began working for OTN as a field technician in 2017 before moving on to the data acquisition team the following year, after completing her B.Sc.
Caitlin’s current, multi-departmental role combines field work, equipment maintenance and data management for OTN’s growing network. She has also become a certified data carpentry instructor and assists OTN partners by teaching workshops.
Caitlin enjoys swimming, scuba diving and travelling in her spare time and continues to be passionate about the advancement of marine science.
Ryan graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor of computer science from Dalhousie University. He began working with oceanographic data as the data manager with the CEOTR glider group and has been working in ocean data management ever since.
Ryan is the senior programmer at OTN, and focuses primarily on maintaining acoustic telemetry analysis tools in R and Python, as well as supporting the team by creating tools to help automate the creation of reports and statistics for OTN.
He is always looking to get his hands on new challenging types of data. Ryan has experience working with several data types, including glider, coastal ocean dynamics applications radar, and chemical and physical time series.
Bruce graduated from Dalhousie University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He worked as a research assistant in an oceanography laboratory for a year prior to working as a web developer for five years.
In 2019, Bruce returned to oceanography as a programmer at OTN. He has upgraded and expanded OTN’s suite of data processing software and maintains the member portal website. He’s also a data carpentry certified instructor and has taken an active role in OTN’s workshop programs, teaching Python to both students and faculty.
DATA & ANALYTICS OFFICER
Patrick graduated from Dalhousie University with a bachelor of computer science as well as certificates in data science and artificial intelligence. During his studies, Patrick was introduced to OTN through the Dalhousie co-op program, where he completed his final co-op term.
Patrick joined OTN in 2020 as a data analyst. He is responsible for data verification and products related to the database.
Patrick is excited to be able to merge his passions for the ocean and technology through his work at OTN.
Ying has a B.Sc. in applied science (electronic and microcomputers), and started her career as a software engineer in China. In 2008, she moved to Calgary, and worked as a software tester and developer in the oil-and-gas industry. In 2018, the life-long learners programs inspired Ying, and she enrolled in the M.S. Data Analytics program.
Ying completed an internship with OTN in 2021 and obtained her master’s degree from Colorado State University. Ying brings her experience in software testing, sensor data processing, and data analytics to her role at OTN.
In her spare time she volunteers at non-profit organizations to help adults and children learning.
Joe fell in love with the ocean at a young age while growing up on Canada’s east coast. He carried this passion through his education, pursuing an M.Sc. in marine biology (specifically shark research) from the University of New Brunswick.
As lead technician OTN, his responsibilities include organization and supervision of all technical operations and team members, array planning, equipment maintenance for all OTN infrastructure and various partner projects, and logistical planning for operations as well as field work.
Living far away from the ocean as a child in Edmonton, Alberta, Nathan drew inspiration from the ocean through family trips to Nova Scotia. He moved there in 2012 to live close to the ocean and pursue an education in marine biology. Nathan graduated from Dalhousie University in 2016 with a B.Sc. in marine biology.
Working as first mate for captain Art Gaetan’s company, Blue Shark Charters, Nathan helped catch and tag around 800 sharks in Atlantic Canada between 2015-2017.
Nathan joined OTN as a field technician in 2017. His responsibilities include maintaining acoustic arrays within Canada, offloading receiver data, and assisting OTN partners with current or future acoustic arrays.
Cassandra grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has always been interested in pursuing a career in the marine sciences due to her coastal roots and passion for life underwater. Cassandra’s enthusiasm led her to Memorial University, where she graduated in 2017 with a B.Sc. in biology, focusing on marine studies. She worked for various sectors of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Atlantic Canada throughout her degree, primarily with groundfish species.
Cassandra settled back in Halifax and joined OTN in 2018 as a member of the field team. Cassandra brings her technical expertise in field deployments to her role at OTN. Her work takes her across Canada and around the world on projects with OTN partners and she thrives living at sea. Outside of the office, Cassandra is an ardent Seattle Seahawks fan and travel enthusiast.
Originally from Brazil, Iago grew up surrounded by the waters of Todos os Santos Bay, the largest bay in the country. He developed a passion for the ocean and marine life, culminating with him pursuing a B.Sc. in oceanography.
Throughout his career, he worked mainly with remote sensing and oceanographic data manipulation. Seeking to further develop his practical skills and gain more field experience, he obtained an advanced diploma in ocean technology from the Nova Scotia Community College in 2018.
Iago joined OTN as a field technician in 2019. As part of the field team, he is responsible for preparing acoustic telemetry receivers, acoustic releases, flotation packages and assembling oceanographic equipment into complete mooring systems for underwater deployments.
Because of his background in data processing, Iago takes pleasure in immersing himself in the data world and assisting OTN’s data team with data loading.
FIELD TECHNICIAN & ROV SPECIALIST
Fiona’s love for water developed at a very young age. During her first trip to Newfoundland at eight years old, she was helping to catch caplin in waist-deep water when a humpback whale breached in front of her. It was so close that Fiona felt like she could reach out and touch it.
Whenever there was an opportunity to go to a lake or ocean, she never turned it down. This fascination led her to choose a career in ROV’s and subsea construction. Working globally, Fiona discovered that she was one of only a handful of people in the world to experience life at nearly 3000 metres! Fiona joined OTN in March 2022, and she’s actively assisting in tracking marine life in order to gain a better understanding of the future of our oceans.
MANAGER, GLIDER OPERATIONS
Adam has an M.Sc. in biological oceanography from Dalhousie University. He has assisted with the maintenance and operation of marine autonomous vehicles, such as Slocum gliders and Wave Gliders for more than six years.
Working with OTN, Adam started as a glider technician in 2010 and has been the lead technician on more than 70 missions on the east and west coasts of Canada. He has also helped researchers from across Canada set up new gliders and perform test missions.
In 2019 Adam started managing the glider activities for CEOTR. His day-to-day duties involve overseeing the work of the glider technical team, interacting with researchers and partners, budgeting and some outreach.
GLIDER TECHNICIAN II
Sue L’Orsa received her B.Sc. with specializations in life, earth and ocean sciences from the University of British Columbia.
Sue has been a glider technician with the CEOTR glider group at Dalhousie University since 2014. She has led Wave Glider operations and assisted on Slocum glider missions on the east and west coasts of Canada.
Most of her duties involve feasibility assessments, mission planning, glider maintenance, field operations and glider piloting. She also recruits and trains students to pilot the Wave Glider and provides information about the gliders during public events and tours.
Jude van der Meer
GLIDER TECHNICIAN II
Jude received his B.Sc. in marine biology and oceanography at Dalhousie University. During this time, he was involved with several labs and groups within the biology and oceanography departments through co-op opportunities and the Transatlantic Ocean System Science and Technology Research School, eventually leading him to the CEOTR group.
Jude has been with CEOTR since 2016. He was initially brought on to assist with both the Bedford Basin time series and CEOTR’s marine autonomous vehicle operations, but quickly shifted his focus to the latter. Jude is now primarily a Slocum glider technician spending most of his time keeping the fleet ‘flying’ and fitted with the sensors required to understand the research questions at hand. He is also one of the primary operators of OTN’s zodiac, escorting the gliders to where they need to go.
GLIDER SOFTWARE DEVELOPER
Xiang graduated from Dalhousie University with a bachelor of computer science and a primary interest in software development.
He has been a software developer for the CEOTR team since 2017, managing data from marine autonomous vehicles and developing the glider data pipeline to automatically process Slocum and Wave Glider data for an ERDDAP server. He also works on dinkum library, which is a tool for parsing Slocum glider data. In addition, Xiang develops and maintains the website backend and the team’s metadata tracking tool, known as the sensor tracker.
Mondalene Dennis Kebaya
Born in Kenya, Dennis has worked in project financial management in the international non-governmental organization sector for the last 17 years. He holds a bachelor of science in international business administration (finance) and a CPA from Kenya. Dennis is currently working towards Canadian CPA certification.
As finance manager for OTN, Dennis handles daily financial activities and supports the Network’s grant management program. His core skills include budgeting, financial reporting and grant management.
Born and raised in Halifax, Cormekia graduated from the Nova Scotia Community College with diplomas in accounting and management. She has worked with the federal government and in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years. During that time, she gained experience in client services, office management, and project management.
Cormekia joined OTN in June 2019 as office manager. In this role, Cormekia ensures smooth daily operations in the office, schedules activities, helps arrange travel, creates operational guidelines and is a point person to assist staff with administrative needs.