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.
Shaza has a BSc in nuclear engineering from Alexandria University in Egypt. Recently, she received a diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology at NSCC Ivany Campus. Shaza has years of work experiences in different mechanical fields. She is joining AORG team to design and build a mechanical "Sieve Table" to be used for sediment sampling while at sea.
Aaron Bishop is a recent graduate from the Electronics Engineering Technology program at the NSCC Ivany Campus. Aaron will be working as a research assistant with the AORG team focusing on the research and development of underwater camera and light systems. His work will involve the design and construction of various electronic systems as well as the means of controlling these systems.
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.
Jillian Ejdrygiewicz is an Honours graduate from the NSCC Geographic Sciences Diploma program at the Centre of Geographic Sciences concentrating in Cartography. She also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Dalhousie University majoring in Marine Biology. Her most recent work experience included a cooperative education work term with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg as a Geographic Information System (GIS) student, and as a laboratory technician and research assistant of a Neuroscience and Veterinary Medicine research lab at the University of Calgary. Jill's current position as a research assistant with the Applied Oceans Research Group will incorporate her passion for marine research, her GIS and cartography skills, and bathymetric data and imagery to produce a variety of print and digital maps of the ocean floor around Nova Scotia.
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.
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.
Amy is a first-year mechanical drafting student at NSCC completing a work term with the AORG. She is helping to develop underwater camera housing to be adapted and used for future projects. With previous experience in animation and visualization, she is hoping to take her skills into more product development.
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.