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Current Executive

ACCESS Executive positions are 2-year terms and are appointed bi-annually at the ACCESS meeting. The current Executive was elected at our past meeting in Halifax, NS, at St. Mary's University.

Allen D. Beck


Allen is a coastal marine ecologist studying snails communities in salt marshes. He completed is BSc and is now a masters student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Allen's thesis focuses on the role of the marine pulmonate snail, Melampus bidentatus, in salt marshes in Maritime Canada. 


Allen Beck

Department of Biology

University of New Brunswick

Fredericton, NB

E-mail: Allen_Dereck.beck@unb.ca

Dr. Bruce G. Hatcher

Past President

Bruce is an ecologist who studies marine and coastal ecosystems, and applies the resulting knowledge and skills to management (but mostly he just has fun).  Educated as a benthic ecologist and oceanographer in Australia, Canada and the United States, Bruce has 34 years of post-doctoral experience in marine science on a wide variety of grant and contract-funded research and development projects world-wide.  No “arm-chair ecologist”, he has worked in 25 countries and 6 seas, logging more than 800 days at sea and 2,000 hours working underwater.  After serving as the Director of the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University, Bruce took up the Chair in Marine Ecosystem Research at Cape Breton University in 2005. The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere, the Sydney Harbour and the Eastern Scotian Shelf are where he now tries to do science for ecosystem-based management decision support. In an effort to build capacity for research and development in both the public and private sectors Bruce has mentored 80 students at 6 universities in 5 countries (undoubtedly my most worthwhile contributions). The concept and composition of the ACCESS appeals to Bruce very much, and he will work with the ACCESS community to continue the benefits that the Society brings to its members and the broader community of Atlantic Canada.


Department of Biology

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

E-mail: bruce_hatcher@cbu.ca

Website: http://www.cbu.ca/faculty-staff/faculty/bruce-hatcher/

President Elect


Dr. Gavin Manson


Gavin Manson is a coastal geoscientist with the Geological Survey of Canada. He gained his B.Sc from the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in 1995, his M.Sc from the Department of Earth Sciences at Dalhousie University in 1999, and is completing his Ph.D with the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph. Manson has a habit of taking a really long time to complete a university degree. During his 25 year (and counting) career Manson has worked on all three of Canada's marine coasts. His research provides information that helps coastal Canadians understand the physical processes that affect where they live. To provide this information, Manson uses nearshore sediment transport models, GIS and remote sensing technologies, and nearshore instrument moorings. Manson collaborates now with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Transport Canada, the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, and several Canadian and international universities and colleges.



Marine Environmental Geoscience

Dartmouth, NS

Email: gmanson@nrcan.gc.ca

Lydia Ross


Lydia Ross currently works as the Project Officer with COINAtlantic (Coastal and Ocean Information Network). As part of her role with COINAtlantic, Lydia is an Engagement Specialist for CIOOS Atlantic (Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System). Her work promoting open-access information and data sharing across all sectors is supportive of the integrated management of Atlantic coasts. Lydia holds a Master of Marine Management (Interdisciplinarian of the Year, 2018) from the Dalhousie Marine Affairs Program, a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences, double major in Environment, Sustainability & Society (ESS) and Environmental Science, a certificate in Project Management: Practice and Certification from McGill School for Continuing Studies, and a diploma in Photography and Digital Imagining from Holland College. Lydia has a professional background in academia, government, NGO, consulting, and the arts, with ten years of volunteer experience in environmental education. In addition to her work with COINAtlantic, Lydia is also teaching Environmental Management as a part-time instructor at Saint Mary's University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. 


Project Officer, COINAtlantic

Halifax, NS

Email: lydia.ross@dal.ca 


Dr. Gail Chmura

Member at Large

Gail Chmura is an Associate Professor in the Geography Department at McGill University in Montreal, past Director of Quebec’s Global Environment and Climate Change Centre.  Gail started her coastal career working for the Rhode Island Coastal Zone Management Council.  Since then she has conducted research on tidal wetlands along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts; and over a wide range of latitudes, from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.  As a Fulbright Scholar she conducted research at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research; through a US National Research Council Fellow conducted research at the US EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology Division; and as a National Sea Grant Fellow served as a legislative aide to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on “Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment”.  Recently, she was a lead author of the Coastal Wetlands chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publication Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands.  Gail has published over 60 articles and book chapters covering topics such as tidal marsh response to sea level change, impacts of climate change and human perturbations on coastal ecosystems, and ecosystem services of natural and recovering salt marshes. Her present research is largely focused on blue carbon with projects on assessment of soil carbon stocks and rates as well as greenhouse gases fluxes in salt marshes. She has degrees from Louisiana State University (Ph.D. Marine Sciences), the University of Rhode Island (M.S. Plant and Soil Science) and the University of Massachusetts (B.S. Wildlife Biology).


Department of Geography

McGIll University

Montreal, QC

Email: gail.chmura@mcgill.ca

Website: http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/faculty/chmura/

Scott Hatcher

Member at Large

Scott is currently attending classes at Dalhousie University’s Earth and Environmental Sciences department in order to become a Professional Geoscientist. His research interest is in coastal geomorphology. In particular how coastal dynamics interact with built infrastructure, and how “green” infrastructure can ameliorate these interactions. Previously Scott completed an A.Dip. In Remote Sensing from COGS, and an M.Sc. In Geography from Memorial University of Newfoundland.  He’s worked as a research technician in academia, federal government, and the private sector. He first attended ACCESS in 2015, and then again in 2019, where he was elected “member at large”.


B.W. Geospatial

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Email: bw.geospatial@gmail.com Website: https://svhatch.github.io/

Matthew Penny

Student Member at Large

Matt is a molecular ecologist working on aquatic invertebrates in Atlantic Canada. He completed his BSc (Honours) at Cape Breton University (CBU) with Dr. Timothy Rawlings and is currently an MSc student at Acadia University with Dr. Donald Stewart. His Honours generated an updated account of hydroid species diversity in Cape Breton. His Masters will examine the population genetic structure of the Atlantic Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) using Restriction Site-Associated DNA Sequencing (RADseq). In addition, Matt has worked on the population genetic structure of the Waved Whelk (Buccinum undatum) and the use of DNA Barcoding to identify the Yellow Lamp Mussel (Lampsilis cariosa) and to assess gastropod species diversity in Cape Breton lakes.

Matt first attended ACCESS in 2017 and was impressed enough to return every year since then. He was elected Student Member-At-Large in 2019 and looks forward to helping grow the presence of ACCESS and CERF in Canada.



Emily Paton

Student Member at Large

Emily Paton is in her second year of the MSc program at the University of New Brunswick (Saint John), where she works under the supervision of Dr. Rémy Rochette. Prior to beginning her MSc, she completed her BSc at the University of Guelph, where she majored in Marine and Freshwater Biology and minored in Mathematical Sciences. Emily’s research aims to determine if early-life-stage American lobsters (Homarus americanus) are impacted (either positively or negatively) by salmon aquaculture practices in southwest Bay of Fundy. This is important research as the American lobster industry is the country’s most valuable fishery. Additionally, the lobster fishery and salmon aquaculture industry within southwest Bay of Fundy provide many jobs to locals in an area with high unemployment. Emily attended ACCESS for the first time in May 2019, and is excited to see what ACCESS 2020 has to offer!




Presidents: Andre St. Hilaire (U du Quebec), Mark Hanson (DFO-Moncton), Sylvie St. Jean (now Jacques Whitford Consultants), Simon Courtenay (UNB, CRI, DFO), Katherine Jones (CBU), Melisa Wong (DFO-BIO), Gail Chmura (McGill), Bruce Hatcher (CBU)
Secretaries: Benoit Lalonde (Environment Canada), Timothy Rawlings (CBU), Dawn Sephton (DFO), Aruna Jayawardane(Maliseet Nation Conservation Council)
Treasurer: Wayne Fairchild (DFO-Moncton), Gavin Manson (NRCan), Sheridan Thompson (MUN)
Members at Large: Kellie White (CBU), Gary Bugden (DFO-BIO), Michael van den Heuvel (UPEI), Heather Hunt (UNBSJ), Mike Dowd (Dal), Jon Grant (Dalhousie), Aruna Jayawardane(Maliseet Nation Conservation Council), Jeff Clements (UNB)
Student Representatives: Stephen Cole, Sylvia Dove, Megan Finley, Michael Sweezey, Jared Tomie, Mike Brown (Dal), Jeff Clements (UNB), Andrea Price (McGill), Mike Coffin (UPEI), Spencer Virgin (UNB)

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