Oceans Research Team
Craig received his education in England, earning an honours science degree in zoology from the University of Reading and a PhD in marine ecology from the University of Portsmouth. In addition to his work with NSCC’s Applied Research department, he is an adjunct professor at Memorial University in St. John’s.
Through his work in government and industry, Craig has a broad knowledge of marine affairs. He has firsthand experience of applied and pure research in such sectors as oil and gas, fisheries and aquaculture, and marine renewable energy.
Sonar technologies that map the seafloor are Craig’s main research focus. “The technologies have become more sophisticated over the years, and they can now generate highly detailed maps of the ocean floor,” he says. The goal is to make a detailed map from data obtained from a combination of techniques, including high-resolution photos and videos of the seafloor, which can ultimately lead to more sustainable environmental management and assessment processes.
Craig received an Industrial Research Chair award from NSERC in 2015 to embark on a 5 year program of study on Integrated Ocean Mapping Technologies. The applied research will work with ocean sector partners to develop innovative seafloor mapping methods and techniques to support a variety of offshore activities, initially focusing on fisheries applications. “We’re at the cutting edge of oceanography and at a stage where a lot of the ocean floor has never been mapped,” he says. “Thanks to new technologies, we have the opportunity to improve our understanding of seafloor systems which will support sustainable management of marine resources.”
Craig will be investigating the latest innovations in ocean survey instruments, including subsea camera systems and multibeam echo sounders, and how these technologies can be improved and used to collect high-resolution data from the ocean floor for a range of applications. In the near future, he believes that autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) submersibles will play a significant role in ocean floor surveying.
Brittany Curtis graduated from the Ocean Technology Advanced Diploma program with honours at NSCC (Ivany Campus) and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria with a combined major in Biology and Earth and Ocean Science. She previously worked as an aquarist, a Pacific salmon fisheries observer, and as a lab technician and research assistant. Her work with the Applied Oceans Research Group involves collecting and analyzing seafloor video data, as well as research and development of new technologies related to underwater imagery.
John Fulmer is a recent graduate of the Marine Geomatics program at NSCC COGS campus, before that he received his BSc from Dalhousie University. John joined the AORG team as an offshore hydrographic surveyor and is currently working in the lab on data post-processing as well as design and fabrication for a DINGBOT Autonomous Surface Vehicle.
Vicki Gazzola joined NSCC’s Applied Oceans Research Group (AORG) in 2015. Since graduating from NSCC’s Center of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in 2006, she has gained experience producing and managing geospatial data and map products using a variety of GIS software. With an eye for graphic design, she often combines GIS packages with graphics packages to produce high quality cartographic results. Her years of involvement in off shore exploration and research have given her experience with the deployment, retrieval and sub sampling of a variety of ground truthing methods. Her familiarity and understanding of these methods has proven useful to her role in the AORG where she combines that knowledge and her GIS expertise to build MBES surface grids that are used for environmental analysis, assessing habitat suitability, and benthic interpretation.
Jason Hines has been a research assistant with AORG since 2017. He has an Advanced Diploma in Ocean Technology from NSCC, an Advanced Diploma in Marine Geomatics from NSCC’s Centre of Geographic Sciences, and a BSc in Geology from Acadia University. He specializes in hydrographic survey data acquisition along with data post processing. Jason has over 10 years of offshore experience both in hydrographic and seismic survey operations.
Mathias is a student from the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria. He is currently studying Mechatronics and Business Management as part of his last semester of his Bachelor's degree programme. He studies part-time, and has been working for the past five years as an electrical designer for Promot Automation, a company specialised in automation of machine tools. Mathias is completing an internship working for AORG, where he’s applying his electrical expertise to design and build underwater camera systems.
Following a post graduate degree in biological oceanography at Pierre and Marie Curie University in France, and an M.Sc. in ecotoxicology and oceanography at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, Stephane Kirchhoff started his professional career 16 years ago in Louisiana monitoring and studying low oxygen zones in the Gulf of Mexico as lead diver, instrumentation technologist and field data manager. Since then, he has served technical and managing roles at Dalhousie University for two coastal ocean monitoring research projects, and the Ocean Tracking Network. Experienced with years of field operations, technical lead roles, and project management, Stephane has shaped his expertise in the ocean research environment. He has also gain invaluable experience in the private sector working for a few years for an environmental consulting company and a marine geoscience company based in Nova Scotia.
In November 2015, Stephane joined Dr. Craig Brown's Applied Oceans Research Group at the NSCC Ivany campus. He is presently in charge of developing an underwater camera system capable of ultra-high resolution imagery to complement sonar data for benthic habitat research.
Myriam is a biological oceanographer and ecologist with an interest in offshore seafloor ecosystems. She has experience with deep-sea biological surveys using high-definition cameras, computer programming, statistical analysis, and GIS mapping. Myriam graduated with a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from Dalhousie University in 2016. She had previously attended McGill University (Montreal, Qc) for her undergraduate studies in biology, with a focus on aquatic ecology. Her interests include spatial ecology, habitat modelling, statistics, seafloor mapping, and ocean technology. As a postdoctoral researcher, Myriam is part of the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network II, a nationwide network of research scientists interested in assessing current impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems, and informing management strategies. Her research now focuses on using landscape ecology concepts in offshore marine protected areas to support marine spatial planning.
Markus is an Austrian exchange student finishing his last semester of a Bachelor in Mechatronic & Business Management from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. His study program is a part-time degree that allows him to work concurrently as an electrical designer at Weingartner Maschinenbau Gmbh. For his internship, Markus has joined the AORG team where he will apply his knowledge to design and build prototype underwater camera systems used for benthic habitat research.
After completing the NSCC Ocean Technology Advanced Diploma program, Dylan joined the A.O.R.G. team. Hired on as a Research Assistant, he helped research and develop the drop camera frame for Dr. Craig Brown’s Benthic Habitat Mapping projects. He has a great understanding of DSLR cameras, as well as many other desirable oceanographic skills.
Tamara attended Dalhousie University where she first acquired a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies followed by a Master of Marine Management. Currently, Tamara is a student in the Oceans Technology Advanced Diploma (OTAD) program. She is joining the AORG team to complete her OTAD internship. Tamara will spend the majority of her internship at the DFO Biological Station in Saint Andrews, NB. There she will assist with data analysis, digital image processing, and scientific documentation.
Mike is an Electronic Engineering Technologist graduate from the NSCC Ivany Campus and is currently with the Applied Oceans Research Group on a six-month internship where he is researching and developing subsea camera and light systems. His areas of expertise are circuitry design, lighting and power solutions.
Cory is an Electronics Engineering Technology graduate from NSCC with a background in Mathematics and Statistics from Dalhousie University, and previous experience in the wireless telecom industry. His work with the Applied Oceans Research Group involves designing and building the electronics and control components of underwater camera systems.
Peter received his BSc (hon) and MSc in Biology at Acadia University before attending the Centre of Geographic Sciences at NSCC to study hydrographic surveying. Currently he is working on collecting and editing multibeam data that will be used to create habitat maps for various commercial species. Peter also aids in species identification from seafloor photos that aid in ground-truthing.