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Stephen Insley
Associate Conservation Scientist
Dr. Stephen Insley is the WCS Canada Arctic Lead and part of the broader WCS Arctic Beringia program, working on the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and northern communities. He leads two main projects in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region with Inuvialuit partners. The first uses passive acoustics to predict and avoid future shipping impacts through ambient underwater noise monitoring, identifying biologically sensitive areas, and predicting ship noise footprints. The second project collaborates with Inuvialuit communities to monitor seal diet and condition in order to understand ecosystem change and its effect on local food security. His research background has had three general themes: (1) animal acoustic behaviour; (2) the application of behavioural ecology principals and techniques to conservation biology; and (3) conservation through local stewardship. His approach has involved experimental field biology, mostly with pinnipeds and seabirds, and working with remote subsistence communities in a wide variety of field locations including the Bering Sea, the North and South Pacific and the North Atlantic Oceans. He has graduate degrees from the University of California Davis and the University of Victoria, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Biology, as well as Postdoctoral experience at the Smithsonian Institution.
Research Gate | Google Scholar | LinkedIn | Arctic acoustics program
Martin Robards
Arctic Beringia Coordinator
Dr. Martin Robardsis the Director of the WCS's Arctic Beringia Program and has 20 years of Alaska research experience, having worked extensively with indigenous communities and their representatives in the Arctic. Dr. Robards also worked for two years in Washington D.C. at the Marine Mammal Commission, informing policy makers about the challenges of implementing regional-scale policies concerning the conservation of marine mammals in remote subsistence-dominated environments. He has published over 30 scientific articles, served as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and is affiliate faculty with the University of Alaska.
William Halliday
Conservation Scientist and Arctic Acoustics Program Lead
Bill is a Conservation Scientist and the Arctic Acoustics lead in WCS Canada’s Arctic Beringia Program. He is based in Victoria, and works closely with Dr. Steve Insley in WCS Canada’s Whitehorse office, as well as with Dr. Francis Juanes at the University of Victoria. Bill studies marine mammals and fish in the western Canadian Arctic using passive acoustic monitoring (i.e. underwater listening). He examines how climate change and vessel traffic influence these animals, and is particularly interested in underwater noise pollution and the development of effective marine spatial planning. Bill has a strong background in quantitative ecology, with a specialization on habitat selection and animal behaviour, including four years of experience working at remote field sites in the Arctic on lemmings. Previously, Bill was a post-doctoral fellow with WCS Canada, completed his PhD at the University of Ottawa, and his MSc and BSc at Lakehead University.
Twitter | Website | Arctic acoustics program
Niki Diogou
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Niki is a Postdoctoral Fellow with WCS Canada’s Western Arctic Program and the University of Victoria assessing spatiotemporal patterns of bowhead presence and underwater noise in the Western Canadian Arctic. A bioacoustician and oceanographer, Niki completed her PhD at the University of the Aegean in Greece, in collaboration with the Oregon State University. She uses passive acoustic recordings to investigate marine mammal presence in remote and inaccessible locations and answer ecological questions. During her PhD, Niki focused on sperm whales in Alaska and eastern Mediterranean Sea, but her scientific interests expand to the acoustics of the entire marine ecosystem, including all vocal animals, geophysical and anthropogenic noise. Niki scientific writings encompass the quantification of cetacean temporal distribution and how it may be influenced by climate change and oceanographic shifts. Niki’s research is motivated by conservation efforts and the potential harassment caused to marine wildlife from manmade noise and global warming. Niki, served as the founder and Director of a popular science festival in Greece (Pint of Science Greece), and is an advocate of the importance of science communication. A large part of her early career involved working for the protection of the Mediterranean sea turtles, allowing her extensive collaboration with different stakeholders and contributing directly to the conservation efforts of the Mediterranean marine ecosystem. Her passion for the oceans and seas are major drivers for her science.
Rachel Charish
Arctic Research Assistant
Rachel Charish is an Arctic Research Assistant with WCS Canada and is mapping the interactions between bowhead whales and vessel traffic. Rachel grew up in a small, landlocked village in central Spain but became fascinated by the marine environment from an early age. She spent several years working as a water taxi captain and as a marine naturalist for a whale watching company in Canada's Pacific Northwest before completing her MSc in Marine Biology at Ghent University. Rachel's graduate research was focused on marine acoustics, and she modelled trends in presence and foraging by bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise populations near a Special Area of Conservation on the west coast of Ireland using passive acoustic monitoring data. Rachel is passionate about listening to the oceans and mitigating the impacts that humans have on the marine environment.
Morgan Martin
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Morgan Martin is a Postdoctoral Fellow with WCS Canada’s Western Arctic Program and the University of Victoria and studies the behavioural reactions of bowhead whales to ship traffic and underwater noise in the Arctic ocean. Morgan is passionate about marine mammal acoustic research and related conservation efforts. Prior to joining WCS Canada, she received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She holds an MSc in Marine Science from the University of San Diego, California, and a BSc in Biology from the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. Morgan is a previous Fulbright Scholar and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She conducted her PhD research in Namibia, southern Africa, on the abundance and underwater acoustics of two species of wild African dolphins: Heaviside’s dolphins and dusky dolphins. Her PhD research is the first to show that a toothed whale (Heaviside’s dolphins) can produce two distinct types of echolocation clicks, which questions what we currently understand about how toothed whales produce biosonar.
Rachel Charish
Arctic Research Assistant
Rachel Charish is an Arctic Research Assistant with WCS Canada and is mapping the interactions between bowhead whales and vessel traffic. Rachel grew up in a small, landlocked village in central Spain but became fascinated by the marine environment from an early age. She spent several years working as a water taxi captain and as a marine naturalist for a whale watching company in Canada's Pacific Northwest before completing her MSc in Marine Biology at Ghent University. Rachel's graduate research was focused on marine acoustics, and she modelled trends in presence and foraging by bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise populations near a Special Area of Conservation on the west coast of Ireland using passive acoustic monitoring data. Rachel is passionate about listening to the oceans and mitigating the impacts that humans have on the marine environment.

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