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Place matters. Our unique environment inspires us to defy boundaries, discover, and innovate in exciting ways. Perhaps it’s the reason you choose to support UVic. But the impact you’ve made is also the reason why UVic continues to be an extraordinary university that students, researchers and community partners want to be part of.

Dr. Juanes and Angeleen Olson
“When we’re sharing desk and lab space, we’re also sharing ideas” - Angeleen Olson

Dr. Francis Juanes

Liber Ero Chair in Fisheries Ecology

Liber Ero Foundation

Dr. Francis Juanes answered a phone call late one afternoon from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and received an exciting proposition.

“Francis, we’ve got the go-ahead for acoustic monitoring on the sponge reefs,” she said. “We need to get going right away. Are you interested in joining us?”

Of course Dr. Juanes was interested. Once believed to be extinct, the glass sponge reefs discovered during sea floor mapping in 1987 are found only in the Pacific Northwest and are extremely fragile. Scientists are still trying to quantify their role in providing habitat to other at-risk species, such as rockfish. This exciting research proposal offered up an excellent opportunity for a student in Juanes’ lab to advance their skills in the growing field of bio-acoustics.

Endowed Chair positions enable researchers to be responsive and flexible.

To take advantage of this partnership, Juanes needed to quickly purchase a set of acoustic recorders, and hire a student to extract and analyze the data. The Liber Ero Chair funding meant he could act on this opportunity immediately.

“Endowed Chair positions enable researchers to be responsive and flexible,” says Juanes. He left a tenured professorship at the University of Massachusetts to take the Chair, which is generously funded by donors Richard and Val Bradshaw. “The Bradshaws care deeply about conservation, especially in marine systems, so this Chair brings those two things together in a really interesting way,” he explains.

Training the next generation of conservation leaders

Juanes is rapidly building a research program in what is fast becoming an area of strength for UVic. His lab is growing symbiotically with fellow biologist Dr. Julia Baum’s lab into a hub of activity for marine ecology and conservation. Both Juanes and Baum have invested in equipment for their newly renovated lab spaces, including hydrophones and recorders, video cameras, microscopes, computers and software, instruments to measure lipids, and tools for cutting and polishing fish ear bones (otoliths). They’ve increased the number of graduate students in the labs to around 20, reflecting their shared desire to train the next generation of conservation leaders.

The collaboration with the Baum lab enriches the program for both the faculty and the students. Masters student Angeleen Olson holds a graduate fellowship funded by the Hakai Institute. She joined the Juanes lab because of Dr. Juanes’ distinguished reputation in fisheries ecology and the wealth of knowledge and resources available across the two labs.

“When we’re sharing desk and lab space, we’re also sharing ideas,” she says, “We’re often exploring the same ecological concepts, but in both temperate and tropical marine ecosystems, which makes for a unique learning experience,” says Angeleen.

New research connections

Angeleen is studying the whole mosaic of coastal ecosystems as an inter-connected nursery habitat for rockfish. Her research will help us understand how human impacts affect marine habitats where biologically, commercially, and culturally important species live.

Because of Juanes’ funding, Angeleen has been able to travel and present at conferences, and benefitted from his ability to respond to attractive partnership research requests. For example, Angeleen was able to work on a project for the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance (CCIRA), an organization that integrates modern science with traditional knowledge.

She conducted dietary analyses to estimate fishes’ position in the food-web relative to their size, helping CCIRA understand the effects of over-fishing of rockfish and ling cod on the central coast.

“By understanding the role of these fish in the food web, we can predict how these systems may change with current fishing practices,” Angeleen explains. “The bigger story we’re trying to tell is how fishing these large, top predators will affect the rest of the ecosystem.”

Understanding changing marine environments

Back in the lab, students such as Cameron Freshwater are adding other chapters to the fisheries ecology story. Cameron uses equipment to polish a salmon otolith and examine it under the microscope using special software. Much like the rings of a tree, the layers of bone reveal details about that fish’s journey between rivers and oceans, its diet and its stresses. Honours student Eva MacLennan uses video and acoustic monitoring tools to observe how fish respond to underwater boat noise.

It’s an exciting time to be an ecologist in training.

The variety of research within the lab shows how the endowed chair position allows Dr. Juanes to focus on fisheries research through different perspectives. “We’re trying to understand how changes in the environment—the warming of the ocean, or increased noise—affect organisms. Or more broadly, how human activities are changing marine ecosystems,” says Juanes. “By bringing all this research together we can inform planning on how we sustainably manage the marine environments that have sustained humans for thousands of years.”

“It’s especially important that we’re doing this long-term monitoring and collecting data that is urgently needed for the local communities on the Central Coast, where a lot of things go unnoticed.” Angeleen adds. “With support from organizations like the Hakai Institute and the Liber Ero Foundation, it’s an exciting time to be an ecologist in training.”



“It’s an exciting time to be an ecologist in training.”




Sabina Trimble

Sabina Trimble

Sam and June Macey Scholarship

The university’s focus on reconciliation and resurgence made UVic an easy choice for Sabina Trimble. A highlight of her graduate degree was the Ethnohistory field school in the Fraser valley. She lived with a family in the traditional territories of the Stó:lō people for one month, learning first-hand about the lives of Indigenous people in modern Canada. “It was the most exhausting but fulfilling month I’ve ever had!” she says.

During that month, Sabina began a research project that subsequently became her masters thesis. The Soowahlie community requested a map that would display the histories and stories of their territory, and illustrate changes over time. Sabina worked closely with community members to create a multi-layered record of cultural and economic information that reflected traditional activities, family memories, and ancient stories. Back at UVic, Sabina worked with Digital Humanities to produce a digital representation of the information.

The community now owns the map and can use it for planning, land claims and public education, meaning it will be crucial to future generations. “Without graduate funding, I wouldn’t have been able to dedicate my time to this project,” Sabina says, “but I gained as much from the process as the community did. Not only in the form of experience and wonderful relationships, but also in the career value that this kind of work carries.”

Jenna Bugiardini

Quinton & Bertha Mar Women’s Basketball Award
Hajash Foundation Award
W. Garfield Weston Foundation Scholarship in Hotel and Restaurant Management
Hunter Family Athletic Award
The Strathcona Hotel Award

In what turned out to be the final game of her varsity career, fifth-year forward Jenna Bugiardini scored 25 points and had six rebounds. She was named Player of the Game, a fitting send-off for an athlete who has given her all to the Vikes program.

Despite her consistently strong performance this year, Jenna’s focus was mentoring the younger players on the team. “Since I’ve been co-captain, I’ve worried less about my own personal success and thought more about the bigger picture, about where the team is going in the future. I’ve focused on what I can do to leave a legacy for them.” And yet, Jenna’s had one of her best seasons ever.

Jenna is fully aware that her on-court success is aided by the amazing support she receives from the UVic community. Each year she’s been grateful for scholarships and awards that have allowed her to remain fully dedicated to basketball and her academic studies. Jenna says that strong sense of community made a lasting impression on her. “I appreciate the opportunities I was given, so I know I will stay connected to UVic and pass on those opportunities down the line.”

Jenna Bugiardini

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