Drawing on extensive backgrounds, the OFI management team is working towards harnessing the vast potential of the world's ocean in a safe and sustainable manner. 


Scientific Director & Dalhousie University Associate Vice-President Research (Ocean)

Dr. Anya Waite

+1 902 494 1921

Dr. Waite was appointed Associate Vice-President Research (Ocean) of Dalhousie University and Scientific Director of Ocean Frontier Institute commencing Sept. 1, 2018. Previously, she served as Section Head of Polar Biological Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven and as Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Biology at the University of Bremen.  

After completing a BSc in biology in 1985 Dalhousie, she obtained her PhD in 1992 in biological oceanography at the University of British Columbia. She then held postdoctoral positions at WHOI (USA) and the Victoria University (New Zealand). 

In 1997 Dr. Waite took a professorship at University of Western Australia in Perth, and was there for 17 years as a biological oceanographer. She was a research group leader in the Oceans Institute as well as teaching students in the Environmental Engineering program. Dr. Waite’s early work included participation in the first Southern Ocean iron fertilization experiment, SOIREE. After this, Dr. Waite’s work in the East Indian Ocean explored the dynamics of mesoscale eddies, the nitrogen cycle in oligotrophic systems and the biology of the spiny lobster larvae in Australian waters. Her current interests include nitrogen fluxes in polar oceans and particle dynamics in mesoscale eddies, and she is on the Project Board for the 2019-20 Arctic ice-drift program MOSAiC.

Dr. Waite was Board Member of the American Association for Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) from 2011 to 2014, and she currently serves on the Editorial Board of Limnology and Oceanography and as Proxy Editor-in-Chief. She is international advisor to the Board of Directors of the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre ACE CRC in Hobart, Australia, a member of the Norwegian Research Council Advisory Board, and a member of the Programme Advisory Group for the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Research Programme. She is co-chair of the SCOR Working Group on biological observation systems, “P-OBS.” She has been on the Steering Committee of the Southern Ocean Observation System (SOOS) since 2017 and on the SOOS Executive Committee since 2018. 

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright

+1 902 494 4201

Dr. Watson-Wright began her career in the Canadian federal public service as a research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She later spent five years as Director of the DFO’s Biological Station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. From 2001 to 2009, she was DFO’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Science, and from 2015 until joining the Ocean Frontier Institute, she was the Regional Director General of DFO’s Gulf Region. From 2010 to 2015, Dr. Watson-Wright led the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) in Paris as its Executive Secretary and Assistant Director General. 

Dr. Watson-Wright has been on several boards and panels including Ocean Networks Canada, MEOPAR, the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Ocean Science and the Strategic Advisory Board for the European Union’s Joint Programming Initiative on Oceans (JPI Oceans). As well, she was an invited member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X-Prize.

Among her many successes and attributes, she is a Killam scholar and holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from Dalhousie University. 

Associate Scientific Director

Dr. Paul Snelgrove

+1 709 864 3773

Dr. Snelgrove is Director of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, a national research network in Canada and a Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Department of Ocean Sciences and Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. From 2003 to 2013, he held a Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems, and in 2012 he held the Knapp Visiting Chair at the University of San Diego. As well, he was a NSERC Industrial Chair in Fisheries Conservation from 1996-2002. Dr. Snelgrove published the book “Discoveries of the Census of Marine Life: Making Ocean Life Count” with Cambridge University Press in 2010 and was awarded the Parsons Medal for Achievement in Interdisciplinary Ocean Sciences in Canada by DFO. In 2015, Memorial University awarded him the title; University Research Professor.

Among his many awards and achievements, Dr. Snelgrove sits on numerous advisory boards in Canada and internationally and frequently sits on review panels and editorial boards.

Dr. Snelgrove received a BSc. Hons degree in Biology at Memorial in 1984, a Master's degree in Oceanography from McGill University in 1987 and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1993. 

Kim Thomson

Chief Administrative Officer +1 902 223 3706

Ms Thomson has more than 20 years of experience as a senior administrator in both university and government sectors. Prior to joining OFI, she served as Chief of Staff to the Provost and Executive Director of the Provost’s Office at Dalhousie University where she was responsible for developing and implementing strategy to address priority initiatives, and for providing senior administrative leadership and oversight within the Provost’s complex portfolio. Prior to joining Dalhousie in 2001, Ms Thomson spent more than ten years at the Council of Maritime/Atlantic Premiers facilitating collaborative programming between the Maritime/Atlantic provinces, and between Eastern Canada and the New England States. She has also provided strategic and administrative leadership to numerous volunteer-based organizations. She has an MBA from Saint Mary’s University.

Julie Rideout

Manager of Operations +1 709 864 7493

A Chartered Professional Accountant, Ms. Rideout joined OFI after a nine-year career as a part of Memorial University’s Faculty of Science. An entrepreneur, she was formerly the owner-operator of four Subway franchises in St. John’s, NL. When she isn’t working, she can be found studying at Memorial University where she is currently completing her Bachelor of Education.

Darrell Adams

Lead Mechanical/Electrical Technician +1 902 494 3946

Bruce Batstone

Industry Partnership Manager +1 902 220 5281

Richard Cheel

Ocean Acoustic Specialist +1 902 442 2321

Georgette Clairmont

Administrative Staff Specialist +1 709 864 3773

Angie Collez

Executive Assistant to the CEO +1 902 494 8823

Richard Davis

Research Implementation Unit Manager + 1 902 494-2829

Mr. Davis coordinates the technical team formed by OFI to serve the oceanographic needs of OFI, Dalhousie and external partners. Mr. Davis has managed scientific projects within Dalhousie University for over 20 years, including expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He was the project manager for Canada’s first automated research buoy system installed in Lunenburg Bay as part of the Centre for Marine Environmental Prediction. For the last eight years he has managed the underwater glider program started by the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and then enhanced by the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network of Centres of Excellence. He also is the technical team lead for MEOPAR’s Observation Core on the east coast.

Mr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree (honors) in aquatic biology from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Texas with Dr. John Cullen as his supervisor. His research interests are primarily in bio-optical oceanography and phytoplankton physiology and ecology but of late has expanded to the use of marine robots to expand ocean observation.  

Jen Frail-Gauthier

Transnational Programs Coordinator +1 902 494 5213

Odum Idika

Assistant Ocean Data Manager

Ron Irwin

Collaboration Manager +1 902 237 2414

Mr. Irwin’s role is to provide support and advice to OFI institutional research partnerships including university, NGOs, and government partnerships, both domestic and abroad, including facilitating and tracking commitments and contributions. Additionally, he assists OFI researchers with access to opportunities available from partners (e.g. access to ship time, data sets, equipment, facilities etc.) and provides information and advice on sources of research funding, including supporting researchers in the development of grant funding proposals. Mr. Irwin hails from the UK and served as Head of the Europe Office, within the Research Contracts Office, at Imperial College London, and then as Head of the European Research Funding Office of King’s College London, prior to immigrating to Nova Scotia. In both universities he devised and implemented the approach to securing funds from the European Union’s Research Framework Programmes helping researchers to identify precise sources of funding for their research within the labyrinth that is the EU, then assisting with the preparation of some 5,000 proposals. Subsequently, he progressed and monitored over time the 2,000+ grants and contracts awarded, sitting on the project management committees for those projects coordinated by the University advising on such matters as contractual obligations, budgets, project governance, confidentiality, risk management, access to partner information for implementation of the project and use of results. Mr. Irwin holds a bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B.) from the University of Glasgow where he specialized in European Community Law and the Law of International Institutions.

Khrista Jeffrey

Executive Assistant to the Scientific Director +1 902 494 3450

Alessi Kwawukume

Microbiome Sequencing Technician

Michelle MacArthur

Finance Manager +1 902 494 4401

Curtis Martin

Projects & Communications Coordinator +1 778 679 3400

Kate Patterson

Data Manager

Simeon Roberts

Atlantic Ocean Graduate Network (AOGN) Coordinator +1 902 312 1400

Sarah Al-Shaghay

RIU Operations Manager +1 902 494 4080

Daniela Turk

UN Decade Workshop Coordinator +1 902 476 1457

Michael Vining

Mechanical/Electrical Technician +1 902 494 4081

Mary Jane Webber

Communications Manager +1 902 219 1555