Posts Tagged ‘alumni’

Where are they now? – Nicholas Macfarlane

September 25, 2013


Again, this is cheating a little bit since Nicholas Macfarlane (PC 28) was not in Marine Science. He was in the Diving activity at Pearson College though and he is now studying marine mammals.  In the photo above (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Image of the Day, Nicholas is listening for pilot whales in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Below Nicholas is using a 3D stereo camera system to determine distances between pilot whales when at the surface as a means of studying their behaviour.


Credit for both photos: Frants Jensen.

For more information on the work that Nicholas and his colleagues did this summer, see Pilot Whales in a Strait at:

Where are they now? – Maxwell Kaplan

June 5, 2013


Photo credit: T. Aran Mooney, WHOI

Again, this is a bit of a cheat since Max Kaplan (PC 33, Ontario) was not in Marine Science, but he was in Biology and Diving and he is and has done a great deal of marine science since leaving Pearson College – so I’m going to claim him!

Max recently completed an undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of St. Andrews and  has just published a paper from his work with T. Aran Mooney in the summer of 2011 at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where he is currently a graduate student.

The paper was published in PLOS ONE on 31 May 2013 and summarizes the effect of elevated levels of CO2 (to simulate the subsequent effects of ocean acidification) on the development of Atlantic longfin squid – mantle length and time to hatching were both affected but the biggest effect was seen on the (aragonite) statoliths. More details from the link to the paper below:

Adverse Effects of Ocean Acidification on Early Development of Squid (Doryteuthis pealeii)

and from


In the photo above by his supervisor at WHOI, Max is in the US Virgin Islands installing a digital acoustic recorder on a coral reef. Good luck with your graduate studies Max and please keep us posted!

Where are they now? – Damien Guihen

April 7, 2013

Although this is a bit of cheat since he wasn’t in Marine Science (only because there was no ‘Marine Science’ in his time at Pearson College), Damien Guihen (PC 27, Ireland) was a student of Biology and Physics, and Diving, and Race Rocks.

Damien 2002

He is a marine scientist to his core though!!

After leaving Pearson College Damien completed a PhD in Physical Oceanography at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  He investigated abiotic factors including flow dynamics at a cold-water coral reef ecosystem off the coast of Norway.

Following his PhD, he accepted a postdoctoral position at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) where he is currently part of the GENTOO Project. While Gentoo penguins are residents of the Antarctic, the GENTOO Project, which stands for ‘Gliders: Excellent New Tools for Observing the Ocean’, is exploring the possibility of using underwater robots to monitor living resources of the Antarctic, including krill, which is where Damien comes in…

BAS Damien

Second year Marine Science students were very fortunate to have Damien speak to them via Skype on Monday 18 March (A block) and on Tuesday 19 March (F block).

Glider & Damien

Damien explained to us how he uses the glider pictured above (and below) to map krill populations in the Antarctic using sound signals.

Glider hanging

Glider in water

Glider guts

Damien also explained how the gliders are controlled and how their buoyancy is regulated using the diagram above.  Very, very cool technology!

Many thanks to Damien Guihen for sharing his knowledge about the Antarctic, gliders & krill and more generally for his wonderfully warm enthusiasm!

P.S.  If you look very carefully in the Skyped images of Damien you will see one of his colleagues just behind his shoulder – one of his chinstrap colleagues!

P.P.S. For more details on his work (from Damien himself) see his guest post on the Seabed Habitats blog.

Where are they now? – Lee Qi

January 4, 2013

Lee Qi (PC 35, Singapore) was part of the very first cohort of students in Marine Science at Pearson College.

P1020646 Lee Qi (third from the left) at Pedder Bay Marina in April 2010.

IMG_8110 And in the yellow jacket participating in a sea lion necropsy in September 2009.

After her two years at Pearson College, Lee Qi went on to study Marine Science at the University of Miami. She is currently a junior there and also the co-president of the University of Miami Scuba Club.

Dive trip1 Dive trip2

She has had several fascinating marine science experiences in the past two and a half years:

Little Salt Spring Lee Qi (in the middle) diving with a full face mask at Little Salt Spring as part of her Research Diving course.

WHALES-articleLarge In 2011 she volunteered to help rehabilitate stranded pilot whales. Lee Qi is second from the right in the photo above.

Panama She also travelled to Panama to do a course in Coastal Management. Students in the class were testing the suitability of various beaches for turtle nesting – here is Lee Qi, sporting Pearson College and Race Rocks gear, on one of those beaches.

Lee Qi’s extended essay (EE), completed while she was a student at Pearson, was recently published in the  journal ‘Nature in Singapore’ and can be found by clicking the link below:


Next semester Lee Qi is traveling to the Galapagos Islands as part of a marine science study abroad program. No doubt she’ll have many amazing adventures there and we hope she’ll keep us posted!

Where are they now? – Erickson

November 30, 2012


…is in the mouth of a sperm whale!

Erickson (PC 36, USA) is currently attending College of the Atlantic (COA) where he has had the opportunity to do some very unique necropsies. A 50 foot / 15 m long adult sperm whale, a 20 foot / 6 m long humpback whale calf and recently a 6 foot / 2 m long male leatherback turtle.


Erickson is the one in the white suit and yellow hard hat to the left of the large vertebral column above.



Next term he is participating in a SEA semester program called “Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems” during which he will spend a month in Woods Hole, Massachusetts then seven weeks on a schooner, sailing from Tahiti to Hawai’i.

While at Pearson College, Erickson was a very keen Marine Science student and diver and he was instrumental in the necropsy and articulation of the California sea lion skeleton that is currently hanging in the floating lab.

Where are they now? – Ellen

November 26, 2012

Last week I was very excited to find in my mailbox a postcard from Israel with a lionfish on the front.  Even more exciting was that the postcard was from Ellen (PC37, Denmark) who has been diving in the Red Sea with lionfish, moray eels, scorpionfish and clownfish. Ellen also saw very large sea turtles and was still hoping to see dolphins and manta rays when she wrote.  She is completing her dive master certification in the 24 degree Celsius water of the Red Sea, but claims that she misses canadian waters.

Ellen was a student in both Marine Science and Biology and a very active diver during her time here at Pearson College.  She also participated in reconstructing the sea lion skeleton that is currently suspended in the floating lab.

UPDATE: 5 January 2013 – just realized that I didn’t include a photo of Ellen – just the lionfish postcard! Here she is as a ‘chubby flashlight fish’ and middle right in the class photo below.

Chubby flashlight fish P1070781

Where are they now? – Danielle and Felix

October 9, 2012

Felix (PC36, Austria) and Danielle (PC37, The Netherlands) recently began their first year of studies at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban, Scotland. This is one of the campuses of the University of the Highlands and Islands and it is located on the west coast of Scotland.

Danielle (above in front of the SAMS academic building) and Felix were both students in Marine Science and very active divers. We look forward to hearing about their marine adventures in Scotland and beyond!

***UPDATE: Here’s a link to Danielle’s blog chronicling her adventures: