Science Team
Our team of staff scientists is available to assist researchers and support their projects.

ONC staff scientists are available to assist researchers in exploring projects and opportunities. Researchers are encouraged to contact us for support with initiating new research programs, joining an existing community of engaged scientists, or preparing a new research proposal.

Kohen Bauer, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Kohen is a marine biogeochemist who is a senior staff scientist at ONC. He is focussed on supporting interdisciplinary projects related to marine biogeochemical cycling, ocean acidification, ocean deoxygenation, and climate dynamics. He earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia in 2019 and his MSc from the University of Toronto in 2013. His PhD thesis was focussed on reconstructing the history of oxygen in the ocean-atmosphere system and its links to the coevolution of life and climate. He worked on developing emerging and widely used geochemical tools that allow for more refined interpretations of Earth’s surface conditions captured in the rock record through time. Kohen conducted his post-doctoral research at the University of Hong Kong, where he worked on integrating geochemical data with conceptual computer models to understand the drivers, rates, and magnitude of ocean deoxygenation in Earth’s past and its connections to mass extinction events and climate change on different timescales. His current research interests are broad and include: ocean deoxygenation on varying timescales, the connections between climate and biogeochemical cycles, ocean chemistry and acidification, the role of microbes in marine biogeochemical cycles, the composition of marine sediments, and developing new and innovative biogeochemical proxy tools.

Paulo Correa, PhD
Staff Scientist

Paulo is one of ONC’s Staff Scientists who support projects related to image data and ecology. His research mainly focuses on deep-sea ecosystems and the effects of anthropogenic stressors on community structure. He has been directly responsible for annotations of deep-sea images and videos and identification of benthic and pelagic species. He has experience in multivariate earth-ocean data analysis, including studying potential drivers for community structure and species distribution on the seafloor. Paulo received his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Campinas, Brazil in 2013, followed by a M.Sc. in Animal Biology, at the same institute in 2016. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, in 2022. His research interests include deep-sea benthic and pelagic diversity, community structure, time-series analysis, species distribution models, computer vision, automatic image annotation tools, photogrammetry, and human impacts on the deep sea.

Fabio De Leo, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Dr. Fabio De Leo is one of ONC’s Senior Staff Scientists whose research focuses on investigating the vast biological diversity that inhabits the ocean’s seafloor (marine benthos). He ensures that top-notch ocean researchers are involved with ONC and analyses data to produce breakthrough scientific knowledge about the processes, biodiversity, and effects of human-induced change in the ocean. As a benthic ecologist, he specializes in deep-sea ecosystems and the effects of anthropogenic stressors such as bottom fishing and climate change on community structure and function. Fabio holds multiple citizenships (Brazil, Spain, and Canada) and has accumulated over 23 years of seagoing experience having participated in research cruises in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans and the Mediterranean and Tasman Seas. His experience at sea also includes diving in manned submersibles as deep as 1.2 Km in submarine canyons off Hawaii. He earned a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and an M.Sc. in the same field from the University of Sao Paulo. Fabio also lectures at various departments at UVic (Biology, Earth & Ocean and Computer Science) and co-supervises graduate and undergraduate students.

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Martin Heesemann, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Dr. Martin Heesemann is one of ONC’s Senior Staff Scientists, focused on tectonics and seismology. He is responsible for the scientific integrity of ONC’s subsea seismometers and bottom pressure recorders, the data from which are used to study earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as tectonic processes related to seafloor spreading and subduction. As a marine geophysicist, he is passionate about collaborating with scientists and engineers in academia and industry to develop new and improved geophysical instruments that push the limits of what can presently be measured in the deep ocean.  Martin is involved in the development and deployment of CORK borehole observatories that enable long-term monitoring of the IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program / International Ocean Discovery Program) borehole. Martin coordinates research activity related to several of these borehole observatories that are connected to ONC’s NEPTUNE observatory. Martin is also the scientific lead of the Northern Cascadia Subduction Zone Observatory (NCSZO) project whose goal is to monitor interseismic seafloor deformation that measures the buildup of energy that will be released during the next big Cascadia megathrust earthquake. Martin holds a Ph.D. in marine geophysics from the University of Bremen.

Jesse Hutchinson, PhD
Staff Scientist

Jesse is a seismologist who is a staff scientist at ONC. He is supporting projects related to seismology, instrumentation, tsunamis, and tectonics. He earned his PhD from the University of Victoria in 2020 and his MSc from Western Washington University in 2012. His PhD thesis focused on the SeaJade I and II ocean-bottom seismometer arrays, which were used to study the Nootka fault zone and the subducting Explorer and Juan de Fuca plates. Since graduating nearly two years ago, Jesse conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand where he developed a comprehensive ground motion intensity measure catalogue for the entirety of New Zealand from 2000 through 2021. This data is currently being implemented for use with a New Zealand national seismic hazard model. In addition, he has been developing an improvement to the MAXI location method (Font et al., 2004) to be used in relocating earthquakes New Zealand-wide.

Jasper Kanes
Staff Scientist

Jasper Kanes is one of ONC’s Staff Scientists responsible for ocean soundscapes. In this role, they develop annotated passive acoustic data sets and work closely with the marine mammal, machine learning, and vessel noise research communities to facilitate and support science using ONC’s passive acoustic data. Their work also includes planning deployments, presenting at conferences, developing new data products, and assisting users with data acquisition and analysis. Jasper’s research interests include marine mammal and fish vocalizations, behaviour, and ecology, as well as machine learning algorithms, vessel noise, ambient soundscapes, human impacts on marine life, and engaging citizen scientists in ocean soundscape research.Jasper holds a B.Sc. in Biology and an M.Sc. in Earth and Ocean Sciences from the University of Victoria. They have studied cetaceans as a research assistant with a number of BC-based organizations, including studying grey whales with the University of Victoria Whale Lab, studying the Southern Resident orcas with the Marine Mammal Research Group, and studying the Northern Resident orcas with OrcaLab. Prior to joining the Science Services team, Jasper also worked at ONC as an underwater acoustic data analyst.

Steve Mihaly, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Steve Mihaly is a Senior Staff Scientists with a focus on interdisciplinary research enabled by ONC’s vast collection of visual and sound data captured by cabled observatories. His engineering background fosters his keen interest in the design of new instrumentation, our understanding of observations, and the design of observational programs. Steve has contributed to our understanding of how ocean dynamics are affected by rough ocean topography and hydrothermal venting. He has specifically studied these effects on hydrothermal fauna community behaviour and the dispersion of hydrothermal vent plumes.  Scientifically, he provides advice on the dynamics of the ocean, such as tidal currents, internal and surface waves, eastern boundary currents, and estuarine circulation, and the linkages of those physical mechanisms to the biological, biogeochemical, and chemical variability of the ocean. As a physical oceanographer, he works with other oceanographers to understand the bio-geo-physical linkages involved in coastal environments. Steve studied mechanical engineering (vibrations/acoustics) at Dalhousie University and holds a Ph.D from UBC in the complex dynamics of ocean currents at hydrothermal venting spreading centers.

Lanfranco Muzi, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Dr. Lanfranco Muzi is one of ONC’s Senior Staff Scientists with a focus on ocean soundscapes and passive underwater acoustics. His expertise ranges from underwater acoustic propagation modeling and simulation to physical acoustics and array/signal processing. Lanfranco has conducted research in ambient noise processing, geo-acoustic inversion, and array-processing algorithms, and has worked on applications in source characterization, environmental impact assessment, and marine mammal detection. At ONC, he works to improve our marine soundscape characterization capabilities and expand our acoustical oceanography program, collaborating with scientists and researchers who use our observatories in all phases of their projects, from planning and experimentation to publication. Lanfranco holds an M.Sc in Computer Science from Portland State University, where he began his career in underwater acoustics as a research assistant with the Northwest Electromagnetics and Acoustics Research Laboratory and received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2015. He also holds a “Laurea” degree in Nuclear Engineering from Università di Pisa.

Martin Scherwath, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist

Dr. Martin Scherwath is one of ONC’s Senior Staff Scientists with a focus on gas hydrates, seabed dynamics (turbidity currents), and carbon sequestration projects. As a marine geophysicist, he has expertise in the geophysical imaging of subsurface structures. His research predominantly uses seismic methods to better understand the dynamics of the seafloor in the major fields of gas hydrates and natural gas seepage, as well as subduction zone processes and marine hazards. At ONC, Martin is the contact person for scientific experiments that use the seafloor crawler “Wally” at the Barkley Hydrates site, the Delta Dynamics Laboratory of the Fraser River, and sonar imaging applied to hydrate mounds and gas seepage on the continental slope. Martin is also a coordinator of ONC’s Solid Carbon project, specifically leading the monitoring aspects as this feasibility study transitions toward a demonstration experiment. Martin holds an M.Sc. in Exploration Geophysics from Leeds University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington. Martin was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2016 at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria where he still teaches and supervises graduate students and post-docs.

Manman Wang
Staff Scientist

Manman Wang is one of ONC’s Staff Scientists with a focus on high-frequency ocean radar systems including CODAR and WERA systems. She works closely with ONC’s data and software teams to implement quality controls on high-frequency data collected, writing radar data format into NetCDF format, and developing a higher level of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) for ONC. She has worked with partners to improve the industry-standard QA/QC Real-time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) manual. Manman has been involved with a group of scientists exploring the advantages of WERA radar usage (wind direction, tsunami, and storm surge events identification). Her research mainly focuses on coastal ocean dynamics, turbulence, tides with the combined use of radar and acoustic Doppler data. She received her B.Sc. in Marine Science from the Ocean University of China in 2012, followed by an M.Sc. in physical oceanography at the same institution where her research focused on large-scale ocean currents related to climate change. She continued her research at the University of Victoria, earning an M.Sc. in physical oceanography and studying ocean mixing in the Labrador Sea.

Maia Hoeberechts, PhD
Associate Director, Learning and Community Engagement

Dr. Maia Hoeberechts manages the Learning & Community Engagement teams, which are together responsible for creating products and services which meet the needs of the scientific, educational and broader user communities. Maia joined Ocean Networks Canada in 2010 as the Staff Scientist for Computer Science and Engineering, a role which she held for three years before assuming her current position. She continues her research involvement as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Victoria focusing on interdisciplinary connections between ocean science and computer science, principally in the areas of computer vision, data analytics and scientific visualization. Before joining Ocean Networks Canada, Maia worked as the project manager on an interdisciplinary research project at Western University to develop and market an emotionally adaptive computer music composition engine. Maia holds a PhD in Computer Science in the area of computability theory and a BSc in Philosophy and Computer Science from Western University.

Kathryn Moran, PhD
President and CEO

Kate Moran is the President & CEO of Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a position she has held since 2012. She first joined the University of Victoria in September 2011 as a professor in the Faculty of Science and as Director of NEPTUNE Canada. Her previous appointment was Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Rhode Island. From 2009 to 2011, Moran was seconded to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she served as an Assistant Director and focused on Arctic, polar, ocean, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and climate policy issues. She is active in public outreach on topics related to the Arctic, ocean observing, and climate change. Professor Moran co-led the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition which successfully recovered the first paleoclimate record from the Arctic Ocean. She also led one of the first offshore expeditions to investigate the seafloor following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Professor Moran is a registered professional engineer, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Society of Senior Engineers, and was selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow for the class of 2022.

Benoît Pirenne
Director, User Engagement

Benoît Pirenne is Ocean Networks Canada’s Director, User Engagement. He joined the University of Victoria in October 2004 to build the Data Management and Archiving System for the NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS observatories. The division he directs consists of four departments: Science Services, Applied Science Solutions, the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System — Pacific Regional Association, and the World Data System — International Technology Office. Previously, Benoît spent 18 years at the European Southern Observatory (ESO, Munich, Germany), a leading Organization for astronomical research. At ESO Benoît assumed a number of scientific and technical positions. As Head of the Operations Technical Support Department in this Organization, he was responsible for running the data management and archiving system supporting both ESO's telescopes and the NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope. Benoît earned a B.CSc. from Liège, Belgium, and a M.CSc. from the University of Namur, Belgium.

Dave Riddell, PhD
Post-Secondary Education Coordinator

Dr. Dave Riddell is a Post-Secondary Education Coordinator who supports the teaching and learning of marine and environmental science in universities, colleges, and communities through the design and delivery of courses and field programs centred around data from Ocean Networks Canada’s underwater observatories and mobile sensors. Dave has a research background in ecotoxicology, with a focus on the roles of citizen science and community-based research in addressing local environmental problems. He brings these research experiences to his teaching and program design. As an educator, Dave’s work is trauma-informed and embraces critical pedagogy, open education, and transformative praxis.

Wylee Fitz-Gerald
Post-Secondary Education Coordinator

Wylee joined Ocean Networks Canada in 2023. She holds a B.Sc. in Earth, Ocean, Atmospheric Sciences and a M.Sc. in Biogeochemical Oceanography. As a Post-Secondary Education Coordinator, Wylee engages with post-secondary institutions and communities to support teaching and learning of marine and environmental sciences, centred around Ocean Networks Canada’s data and observatories. As a proud Métis woman in science, Wylee is passionate about being part of the changing dynamics of Indigenous relations in scientific research. Continually navigating her connection to her identity and how that fits into science-focused spaces, Wylee is eager to work with others interested in the intersection of science and Indigenous relations.

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