Friday, August 6, 2010

Science Staff Profile: Michelle Greenlaw

Even though having a the job title “marine geospatial biologist” would make it seem like I frequently experience trips to sea like the one I’m on now, this trip has been an extraordinary event during my first 2 years with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This is not my first time at sea, and not my first time on the CCGS Hudson, but having the ROPOS out here makes this trip special. With the ROPOS and their team we are collecting samples from deeper and with greater precision than with any equipment we would be able to access within DFO - and this is probably a once in a lifetime event for me. On the Hudson I am coordinating station planning, involved in data management and managing the blog. Station planning involves communicating with the science staff and the bridge then using GIS to plan locations for sampling in the upcoming hours and days.
Before working for DFO I earned my B. Sc. in Zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, then returned to the east coast and trained in GIS and Remote Sensing at the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Nova Scotia. I moved onto my M. Sc. in Applied Geomatics at Acadia University where I recently completed a thesis entitled "A Classification of Coastal Inlets of Mainland Nova Scotia, Using Geophysical Information to Define Ecological Representation and to Evaluate Existing and Proposed Protected Areas". This thesis
examined geophysical and hydrologic properties of coastal inlets on Nova Scotia’s exposed Atlantic shore; to create a classification of inlets (bays, estuaries and coves) designed to be representative of the biology that would reside there. This classification has been used for marine protected area planning in Nova Scotia.
In my current position at DFO I am involved in numerous projects including:

· An analysis of relationships between seabed species/assemblages and their physical environment in the Gulf of Maine

· Synthesis of the patterns, drivers and pressures on biodiversity in the coastal and benthic Gulf of Maine

  • The relationship between biodiversity and benthic complexity in southwest Bay of Fundy and implications for an ecosystem approach to management.

I am also very involved in the promotion, training and support of GIS within DFO, having taught two seminars on the use of GIS in science, one in graduate school and the other for DFO science staff.