By: Evan Andrews. PhD student at the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo
Partnerships are critical to understand complexity and help reduce uncertainty in Canada’s marine systems. As a new PhD student working in OceanCanada, the role for connecting with other graduate students and faculty to inform my own research is an attractive idea. For example, I have almost no practical understanding of how oceans work and how fisheries function. I mean, I have never really even fished. Well that is not entirely true…
I have caught one fish in my life. I went fishing with my father when I was six. He was a trial lawyer for Legal Aid Saskatchewan and I was a city kid glued to my Walkman. Perhaps, we were both a little out of our elements. Much to our surprise, I caught a tiny Northern Pike. Much to my horror, the little fish died on the end of my lure. I cried for days and hung up my new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fishing Rod for good.
So, maybe I am taking “practical” a little too literally here. I know I do not really need to be a fisher to understand fishery systems. Certainly, I will learn about fishery and marine systems during fieldwork and I will lean on a very knowledgeable research community at the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Partnerships with my OceanCanada colleagues, however, will be useful when teasing out how my research relates to marine systems on other coasts. Colleagues working in the Arctic or Pacific will help me understand the constraints and opportunities for integrating case-based findings in broader research of Canadian marine system change. They will help make my research viable in geographically diverse cases and in larger spatial scales. The potential for my research to have a bigger impact and be more useful is incredibly exciting.
We needed to take stock! My new OceanCanada colleagues are working in many universities and organizations across Canada. The Atlantic Working Group, led by Dr. Derek Armitage, felt that there needed to be a tool for connecting OceanCanada graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. So, we got to work. We designed an interactive map that contains students and fellows’ information, interests and descriptions of their research. The first goal of the map was to provide an interactive, publicly available platform that illustrated our geographical and conceptual coverage. The second goal of the map was to be an easy reference tool for OceanCanada partners to use should they wish reach out to one another for discussion or collaboration.
While I probably will not be asking my new colleagues about any fishing tips, I will be reaching out to develop partnerships and foster collaboration. After all, partnerships and collaboration will be the structures through which scientific findings can emerge that would not have otherwise emerged without the OceanCanada Partnership. A link for the map can be found here: