The Raincoast Speaker Series is a long-running social and educational phenomenon! This winter season, we invite you to join experts from around the world for in-depth discussions about locally, regionally, and globally relevant issues. All from the comfort of your home!
November 18th: Dr. Marianne Nyegaard, Mola mola
December 9th: Jessica Schaub, Jellyfish
January 13th: Dr. Scott Wallace, Basking Sharks
February 17th: Very Large Whale (details soon)
March 10th: Giant Squid (details soon)
**the order of Dec. 9, Feb. 17 & Mar. 10th may change; our experts are finalizing their schedules.
This Series will be via Zoom. Receive your zoom link via the ‘RSVP Please’ buttons below.
Thursday, December 9th, 7:00 pm
“Jellyfish: Friend or foe?“
Jellyfish have been in the oceans for 600 million years – they are one of the oldest animal lineages that are still around today. Unfortunately, jellyfish are often seen as pests because of the negative interactions that they have with people. In fact, jellyfish are integral for healthy ecosystems, but they don’t get much credit for it. This session will explore some of the key roles that jellyfish play in the ocean and balance the narrative that is typically associated with these stinging beauties.
About Jessica Schaub:Despite growing up in rural, northern Alberta, Jessica has been drawn to ocean sciences from a young age. In her final months of high school before moving to Vancouver to pursue her degree, Jessica watched a documentary that reported a jellyfish crisis that was unfolding among Japanese fishers. This documentary illuminated the huge knowledge gaps that surrounded jellyfish and pointed to a clear social impact that could be resolved by filling these knowledge gaps. Her interests quickly narrowed, and her entire post-secondary education has been a pursuit of the elusive and enigmatic world of jellyfish ecology. Jessica has been fortunate to conduct research along the BC coast from Calvert Island to Vancouver. Her research has included aerial mapping of jellyfish blooms with drones, figuring out their diets, investigating their microbiomes, and husbandry in aquaria. Jessica is looking forward to her PhD, where she intends to evaluate claims that jellyfish can be considered keystone species.
Thursday, January 13th, 7:00 pm
Not that long ago, Basking Sharks, the second largest fish in the world were a common occurrence along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The last time this species was regularly observed on the BC coast was in Clayoquot Sound in the early 1990s. In this presentation Scott will explain the biology, shameful history, current research, and future recovery of the basking shark in Canada’s Pacific waters.
Scott is a lifelong biologist most happy when wearing gumboots and being with people in the outdoors. He has recently become a partner and owner-operator of a new lodge in Bamfield, Outer Shores Lodge. Before pivoting to Outer Shores Lodge, Scott worked as a marine ecologist at the David Suzuki Foundation for 15 years in the capacity of Senior Research Scientist. He is an educator, author, activist, naturalist, and fisheries researcher whose career has focused on marine conservation. Scott holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught several university and college level courses on the marine and coastal ecology of British Columbia. Scott currently teaches courses with North Island College’s Adventure Guiding program , UBC’s Haida Gwaii Institute, and is a fisheries advisor to the Council of the Haida Nation. In 2006 Scott wrote a book about basking sharks in Canada’s Pacific waters.
Thursday, November 18th, 7:00 pm
“My giant buddies: ocean sunfish and the joy of studying them.”
They idle about at the ocean surface like lazy orbs, occasionally waving at the world without haste. They look like strange dinosaur fish from the deep, yet they are ultra-modern by evolutionary design. It is of course the strangely shaped ocean sunfish, Mola mola, an iconic member of the West Coast marine megafauna. But did you know a second sunfish species occurs here, too? A brand new species, Mola tecta, only discovered in 2017? This talk explores some of the latest findings in sunfish research before taking you on a journey to New Zealand to retrace the steps that led to the discovery of Mola tecta, and how citizen science is now providing important insights into its occurrence in the NE Pacific.
About Marianne Nyegaard: After diving with sunfish on a holiday in Indonesia, Marianne become so captivated with these strange fish that she quit her job and embarked on a PhD to study them. What was meant to be a tropical diving project, however, soon became an exercise in detangling the complicated taxonomy of Mola – an adventure that took her back in time over 5 centuries through early European ichthyology, and all the way into modern day genetics. With the help of many, this journey culminated in the discovery of a previously undescribed sunfish species from New Zealand waters – Mola tecta – that continues to fascinate as it pops up in unexpected places, most recently off British Columbia and Alaska. Marianne recently co-founded the New Zealand Ocean Sunfish Research Trust, using citizen science sunfish projects to promote ocean awareness and conservation.
Details for February 17th & March 10th coming soon.
The topics are shown below but the order is not yet certain, thank you for your patience.