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Who are we?

The Ocean Acidification Community of Practice is an interdisciplinary group dedicated to sharing information and resources related to ocean acidification. We strive to provide a space for discussion and co-production of ocean acidification knowledge across Canada. Our members consist of individuals from government, aquaculture, fisheries, academia, and Indigenous community leadership, as well as students and members of the public.

Everyone is welcome.

What do we do?

Our goals are to:

  • Connect and coordinate across all sectors, disciplines, and regions to share expertise, data, and resources

  • Identify pressing needs for ocean acidification research and knowledge

  • Create a collaborative and supportive environment for groups affected by ocean acidification

How are we funded?

Our community was initiated in 2018 and is sponsored by Canada's Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network. MEOPAR Communities of Practice provide a supportive environment, bringing together interdisciplinary groups focused on common issues to share expertise, foster best practices, and identify national knowledge gaps. 

How does OA
affect Canada?
Meet our
Learn more
about our CoP
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OA CoP Webinar



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Brent Else

Associate Professor of Geography

University of Calgary

Brent graduated from University of Calgary with a B.Sc  (Hons.) and a M.Sc in Geography. He received his PhD in Environment & Geography from University of Manitoba and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary in the Geography Department. Brent’s research interests include marine carbon systems in Arctic environments, climate change, sea ice, the carbon cycle, carbon sequestration, air-sea carbon dioxide exchange and climate variability.

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Helen Gurney-Smith

Research Scientist, Biological Effects

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Helen graduated from Bangor University with a B.Sc in Marine Biology and Biochemistry. She obtained her M.Sc in Bioprocessing from the University College London, and received her PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of St Andrews. Helen is currently a Research Scientist in the Biological Effects Section in the Coastal Ecosystems Science Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Her research focuses on the biological effects of climate change on marine organisms and ecosystems. She is currently active in both the Atlantic and Pacific, working with lobsters, shellfish and plankton species.

Our Team

Steering Committee

MEOPAR Communities of Practice (CoPs) bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and community members to share expertise, to learn, and to provide a space for discussion and co-production of knowledge. This priority is underscored by the selection of a Steering Committee representing multiple sectors (government, academia, industry, non-profit), multiple disciplines (chemistry, biology, technological development, social vulnerabilities, policy development) and all regions within Canada (Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific). Members of the

Ocean Acidification Community of Practice Steering Committee are listed below.


Wiley Evans

Research Scientist

Hakai Institute

Wiley received a PhD in oceanography from Oregon State University in 2011.  He presently manages Hakai research on the globally important issue of ocean acidification and the marine carbonate system.


Wiley's research on ocean chemistry in the North Pacific is integrated with other oceanographic research at the Hakai Institute, and helps monitor British Columbia’s ever-changing oceans. Prior to joining Hakai, Wiley was a post-doctoral scientist at University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and a research associate at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

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Nico Prins
Executive Director
B.C. Shellfish Growers Association

Biography Coming Soon....

Alyssa Dunbar
Research Scientist, Ecosystems and Ocean Science Fisheries and Oceans Canada


David VanderZwaag
Director, Marine & Environmental Law Institute
Professor of Law,
Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) - Ocean Law & Governance

Dalhousie University

David is Director of the Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University, where he is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Ocean Law and Governance. He is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and its Specialist Group on Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs. His research interests include: ocean acidification law and policy, adaptive fisheries and aquaculture governance, climate mitigation, marine spatial planning and marine species at risk protection. 


Courtenay E. Parlee
Research Scientist, Ecosystems and Ocean Science Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Courtenay graduated from Acadia University with a BA in History, and a minor in Sociology. She obtained her MPhil (Alternative Dispute Resolution stream), and her Interdisciplinary PhD (Anthropology, Sociology) from the University of New Brunswick. Prior to working with DFO, she was an Ocean Frontier Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Courtenay has over a decade of experience with community-engaged qualitative research in Atlantic Canada.  Courtenay is currently a Research Scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As part of the Blue Economy initiative, her research focuses on the human dimensions of the Maritimes Region Lobster fishery. 

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Patrick Duke

(Student Representative)

Ph.D. Student

University of Victoria

Patrick is from the traditional territory of the Tsuu t'ina, Siksika (Blackfoot), and Stoney (Nakoda) First Nations in Calgary, AB. He is interested in how the ocean mitigates climate change and will be impacted by human emissions. Patrick is currently a PhD student at the University of Victoria working with Dr. Roberta Hamme and Dr. Debby Ianson on estimating the NE Pacific Ocean air-sea carbon flux. Patrick completed his BSc (Hon), and MSc at the University of Calgary with Dr. Brent Else where he looked at the marine carbon system in the Canadian Arctic. Patrick is also a sustainability leader in his community, focused on training citizens to combat climate change through art, policy, and innovation.

OA CoP Alumni

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Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Research Scientist

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Denise Joy


Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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Kristina Barclay
Postdoctoral Associate
University of Calgary

Kristina graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Palaeontology. She also completed her Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta in 2020, and joined the OA CoP as the Coordinator in October, 2020. Her research examines the effects of OA on mollusc shells, as well as the consequences of OA on predator-prey interactions between molluscs and shell-crushing predators (crabs) in both modern systems and the fossil record. Kristina is also experienced in science outreach and education, having worked in museums and science centres in Alberta in Saskatchewan for three years, and serving as a Collaborator for the geoscience outreach organization, Time Scavengers. Her postdoctoral position was to facilitate OA CoP activities and research.

Kumiko is currently  a research scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada), where she leads the carbon and tracer group, and also an adjunct in the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University.  Her research interests include climate change and carbon cycles in the ocean and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic and the Arctic.  She also investigates air-sea interactions, water mass formation and ventilation ages using transient tracer, and freshwater composition and fluxes using multiple chemical tracers. 


Kumiko has been coordinating ocean acidification programs at DFO to understand temporal and spatial variability and their controlling.  She is a lead author of the report on the Arctic Ocean Acidification to the Arctic Council (Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme), a member of Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) and Canadian representative for Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) and Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER).  She is an associate editor of the journal Environmental Reviews.


Piero Calosi

Professor of Marine Biology

Université du Québec à Rimouski

Piero has been a member of the Global Ocean Acidification Open Network (GOA-ON) Biological Working group since 2015, he has been responsible for the Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science at UQAR since 2016, responsible for the Ocean Acidification Research Axe for the Québec-Ocean FRQ-NT Research Network since 2017, Director of the Institutional Research Group on Nordic Studies BORÉAS since 2018, Invited Lecturer on the «Marine Evolution Under Climate Change» Advanced Course – CeMEB, University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Higher Education Academy of the UK Fellow since 2010, Royal Entomological Society Fellow since 2008. Piero is a member of the Editorial Board for Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, invited editor for Philosophical Transections of the Royal Society B for the special issue on ‘The effect of ocean acidification and climate warming on species potential for adaptation and ecological interactions’ and Evolutionary Applications for the special issue on ‘Transgenerational Plasticity, Epigenetics and the Evolution of Marine Species Under Climate Changes’.

Piero is currently a professor at Université du Québec, Rimouski Campus (UQAR) in the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Geography. His current research focus is the investigation of invertebrates' physiological and life-history responses, and the determination of their scope for further adaptation, to multiple global environmental drivers (primarily ocean warming, ocean acidification, de-oxygenation, and changes in salinity).

Joseph Needoba
(Steering Committee)
Senior Staff Scientist
Science Services
Ocean Networks Canada


Darlene Winterburn
(Steering Committee)
Executive Director
B.C. Shellfish Growers Association

Darlene graduated from the University of Victoria (BA) and continued to pursue educational opportunities in the areas of leadership, adult education, change management and process improvement. She has deep expertise in communications, business management, coaching and project management as well as a track record of developing strong working relationships with government, private sector and community partners. She brings over 15 years of experience as a business owner and consultant specializing in business documentation and training development. Darlene received ATCO I-Tek’s inaugural STAR Award for Leadership in recognition of leadership and effective interaction with clients.

In 2016, Darlene returned home to Vancouver Island to enjoy a new challenge as Executive Director for the BC Shellfish Growers Association, which is the voice of the province’s shellfish aquaculture industry. 

Jennifer Silver
(Steering Committee)
Associate Professor
Geography, Environment, & Geomatics
University of Guelph


Barbara Paterson
(Steering Committee)
Research Associate
St. Mary's University

Barbara has a background in both the humanities (MA) and science (PhD) and over 20 years experience in interdisciplinary work. Her expertise includes the development of electronic decision support tools for the management of natural resources. Another focus of her research are ethical and epistemological issues that arise when we apply mathematical and computational approaches to environmental and cross cultural contexts.


Recently, her work has focused on developing decision support methodologies to further the implementation of an ecosystem approach for fisheries (EAF) in Namibia and South Africa with particular focus on social-ecological knowledge. Her current research investigates the social-ecological risk of ocean acidification to coastal communities.


Heather Almeda

Heather graduated from Dalhousie University with a B.Sc in Biology. She was previously employed as the Executive Director of the St. Croix International Waterway Commission (SCIWC), an international non-profit partnership between Maine and New Brunswick. In this role Heather placed a primary focus on tri-National multi-stakeholder engagement for research and community outreach throughout the St. Croix Watershed and its communities. This included First Nations, Federal, Provincial, State, Academic, Industry, Non-Profit and Community engagement in both the United States and Canada.

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Richard Dewey
(Steering Committee)
Associate Director Science Services
Ocean Networks Canada

Richard has a B.Sc. in Physics from UVic and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from UBC. His research interests are coastal flows, mixing, turbulence, waves, and tides. He has conducted research throughout the Pacific from Japan to California, and along the B.C., Alaskan, and Arctic coasts. He has used a variety of profilers and ROVs, and deployed more than 150 moorings on over 100 oceanographic expeditions. He is author of the Mooring Design and Dynamics MATLAB package, and specializes in time series analysis.

Richard is currently the Ocean Networks Canada Associate Director, Science. Richard is responsible for coordinating and assisting all scientists and researchers using the observatories, from planning to publication. He works with the Staff Scientists to support the science community.

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Austin Pugh
Research Associate
University of Calgary

Austin graduated in 2021 from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Palaeontology. During his time at university, Austin became interested in the field of OA. As a result his thesis was a geochemical analysis and imaging of snail shells that had been exposed to acidic environments. Austin's interest in science education has led him to do outreach to both urban and rural communities. During the COVID-19 global pandemic he did freelance virtual science education to elementary schools. He has held multiple leadership positions throughout his undergrad and was previously employed as the Leadership Director at Cedar Ridge Camp in Ontario where he ran the leadership program. Austin joined the OA CoP in September 2021 as the Coordinator. 

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