Experts on World Oceans Day 2024

Humanities, Fine Arts, Science, Engineering, Social Sciences

UVic researchers bring a range of expertise to studying oceans throughout the world.

The following University of Victoria experts are available to media to discuss World Oceans Day, marked on June 8:

Amanda Bates (Biology) is an Impact Chair in Ocean Ecosystem Change and Conservation. She is works on identifying the mechanisms enabling species to cope with environmental change. She brings this perspective to highlight challenges and ways forwards to better predict and mitigate marine biodiversity change. (Contact:

Julia Baum (Biology) is an expert in marine ecology and conservation and a UVic President’s Chair. She is the director of Coastal Climate Solutions Leaders (CCSL), a first-of-its-kind Canadian graduate training program that prepares students to tackle the climate crisis head-on. She can discuss the impacts of human-caused climate change on marine ecosystems and people, and ocean climate change solutions. (Contact: or 250-858-9349)

Jason Colby (History) is an expert in environmental history, particularly the historical interactions of humans and marine mammals. He is the author of Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator, which examines the transformation of human relations with killer whales (Orcinus orca) and its impact on regional and global environmental values and policy. His current research projects focus on the history and future of people and gray whales, as well as the history of people and climate change. He can speak on these subjects and broader topics like the history of environmental activism and shifting environmental values. (Contact:

Maycira Costa (Geography) is a researcher with the Spectral and Remote Sensing Lab. Her areas of research include coastal oceans, kelp resilience, ocean temperatures, in collaboration with First Nations. She is collecting data to inform scientists and local communities on environmental conditions conducive to kelp health and resilience and the presence of bryozoans, a colonial animal that grows on kelps. (Contact:

Jody Klymak (SEOS and Physics & Astronomy) is an expert on ocean circulation and mixing, essential for understanding how the ocean evolves under a changing climate. He is the lead investigator on the Canadian-Pacific Robotic Ocean Observing Facility, which uses robotic underwater gliders to observe the essential ocean variables like heat, freshwater, oxygen and biological productivity. He can discuss how we can better prepare for a changing ocean with improved observation, understanding and prediction of ocean state. (Contact:

Eva Kwoll (Geography) is an assistant professor in geomorphology and head of the Geomorphology of Coastal Systems Lab. Her research interests span from sediment transport in shallow coastal waters and near river mouths, to sediment transport around submerged vegetation, to submarine hazards associated with turbidity flows and tsunami in coastal fjords. (Contact:

Loren McClenachan (History and Environmental Studies) is an interdisciplinary scholar engaged with ocean history, historical ecology and marine conservation. Her research integrates natural science, social science and humanities to quantify and describe ecological change and human drivers over centuries and across large areas. She is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed articles focused on historical marine ecology, marine fisheries and marine conservation. (Contact:

Kate Moran, OC (Ocean Networks Canada/Science) is an expert on ocean observing and ocean-based solutions to combat climate change, including carbon dioxide removal. ONC is one of Canada’s major research facilities. Open data captured by more than 12,000 sensors streaming in real-time from ONC infrastructure in the Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic and Antarctic oceans support understanding of how the ocean is changing. Moran co-led the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition which recovered the first paleoclimate record from the Arctic Ocean. (Contact: or 250-812-1575)

Benjamin Neal (Biology) is a marine ecologist with expertise in how ecosystems respond to local and global anthropogenic disturbance, advanced sensing of benthic marine ecosystems and marine resource conservation and sustainable utilization. (Contact:

Navneet Popli (Software Engineering) is an expert in cutting-edge technologies vital for oceanic conservation and exploration. Navneet can discuss in data and image analysis, AI and cybersecurity for underwater vehicles and MASS, carbon sequestration and ocean stressor factors monitoring. (Contact:

Gerald Singh (Environmental Studies) examines the intersections between environmental management, development and social equity. His research is primarily situated in the science-policy interface, and works to understand uncertainty and risk in policy and actions towards sustainable development goals and unequal effects on people. He works across ocean disciplines, from established areas such as fisheries to emerging subjects like coastal energy transitions. (Contact:

Diana Varela (Biology and Earth and Ocean Sciences) is a biological oceanographer who studies variations in marine primary productivity, and the links between phytoplankton physiology and nutrient cycling in the ocean. Her research examines how environmental conditions, such as ocean acidification, changes in temperature and salinity, and sea-ice loss, affect the efficiency of carbon, nitrogen and silicon utilization by phytoplankton. Most of her work is done on oceanographic cruises to the oceanic North Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and in a research station in Antarctica. (Contact:


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Media contacts

Simone Blais (University Communications and Marketing) at

In this story

Keywords: Indigenous, international, climate, environment, biodiversity, fisheries, Indigenous, oceans, plants, sustainability

People: Amanda Bates, Julia Baum, Jason Colby, Maycira Costa, Jody Klymak, Eva Kwoll, Loren McClenachan, Kate Moran, Menjamin Neal, Navneet Popli, Gerald Singh, Diana Varela

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