Rosaline Canessa

Rosaline Canessa
Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Academic
Coastal resource management

PhD (Victoria)


On leave

Office: DTB A239

Before joining the Geography department in 2003, I worked as a marine environmental scientist in Scotland, the Caribbean and Canada. My work related to planning and environmental impact assessment for integrated coastal management, offshore hydrocarbon development, fisheries, aquaculture, marine recreation and tourism, and marine protected areas.

I currently serve as the Vice-President Pacific Region of the Coastal Zone Canada Association and as the Canadian representative on the CoastGIS Association.


Through my Coastal and Ocean Resource Analysis Lab (CORAL), my research focuses on coastal resource management and the use of spatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and seascape visualization to support marine planning, particularly in collaborative settings. I work closely with First Nations, and provincial and federal government agencies responsible for managing coastal resources and activities.

Past and current research includes collaborative use of Marxan for zoning marine protected areas, seascape visualization of Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, coastal community mapping and First Nations capacity building for coastal planning.

Graduate students in CORAL have studied ecosystem-based management in shellfish aquaculture, chronic oil spills and surveillance, spatial modeling and characterisation of recreational boating, sea otter conservation and ecotourism, and fisheries reserves. My graduate students and I have published in Coastal Management, Marine Pollution Bulletin and Geomatica.


I teach Environment, Society and Sustainability, Introduction to the Geography of the Coastal Zone, Coastal and Marine Resources, Field Studies in Coastal and Marine Resources, Introduction to Geographical Information, Geographic Information Sciences and Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Sciences.


O'Hara, P.D., Serra-Sogas, N., Canessa, R., Keller, P. and Pelot, R. (2013) ‘Estimating discharge rates of oily wastes and deterrence based on aerial surveillance data collected in western Canadian marine waters’ Marine Pollution Bulletin (in press)

Serra-Sogas, N., Blazey, S., Canessa, R., O'Hara, P. and Bertazzon, S. (2012) ‘Oil in Canadian waters: identifying significant ecological areas vulnerable to chronic oil pollution in Canada's coasts’ (AMOP) Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response  June, 5-8, 2012, Vancouver, Canada

Serra-Sogas, N., Pearce, K., Edwards, N., Lieske, D.L. and Hilliard, R.C. (2011) ‘Oil in Canadian waters: assessing NASP surveillance effort in Canada's coasts’ Arctic and Marine Oil Spill Program (AMOP) Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response

Canessa, R. (2008) ‘Seascape geovisualization for marine planning’ Geomatica 62(4) 375-392

Serra, N., O’Hara, P., Canessa, R., Keller, C.P. and Pelot, R. (2008) ‘Visualization of spatial patterns and temporal trends for aerial surveillance of illegal oil discharges in western Canadian marine waters’ Marine Pollution Bulletin 56(5) 825-833

Canessa, R., Butler, M., Leblanc, C., Stewart, C. and Howes, D. (2007) ‘Canadian practice and innovation in spatial information management for integrated coastal and ocean management’ Coastal Management Journal 35(1) 105-142

Marven, C., Keller, C.P. and Canessa, R. (2007) ‘Exploratory spatial data analysis to support maritime search and rescue planning’ In: J. Li, S. Zlatanova and A. Fabbri (eds.) Geomatics Solutions for Disaster Management Lecture Notes in Geoinformatics and Cartography, Springer Verlag, Berlin

Marven, C. A., Canessa, R. R. and Keller, C. P. (2007) ‘Exploratory spatial data analysis to support maritime search and rescue planning’ Geomatics Solutions for Disaster Management  J. Li, S. Zlatanova, & A. G. Fabbri. New York Springer

Faces of UVic Research video

In this video, Dr. Canessa describes her research into small oil spills from ships, and their influence on the environment. She explains the importance of the full understanding of coastal resources and activities.