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Dr. Boris Worm Named First OFI Ambassador

Researcher and Media Commentator Boris Worm chosen as first OFI ambassador

The Dalhousie researcher known as CBC Radio’s ”Oceans’ Guy” is the first person inducted into the Ocean Frontier Institute’s (OFI) OFI Ambassador Program.

Dr. Boris Worm earned the nickname thanks to his bi-weekly appearance on CBC Mainstreet in Nova Scotia (since 2010), but he is also well known to the public through his work as founder and host of Ocean School -  a ground-breaking educational experience developed in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada. Ocean School is a free, interactive media platform to engage students and teachers in ocean knowledge, exploration and inquiry, and is now used in classrooms across Canada and the world (http://oceanschool.ca).  

Dr. Worm has also been working as a marine ecologist, and Killam Research Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His research focuses on the relationship between people and the ocean, changes in marine biodiversity, and the effects of fisheries, climate change, and other human impacts on global ocean ecosystems. He is also leading one of OFI’s 23 large research projects.

His role as OFI ambassador will be to lead the OFI in the area of Ocean Literacy.

“We can’t help heal the ocean unless we know what is happening there and how it affects us,” says Worm. “Ocean literacy is all about that, combined with an awareness of and how our choices matter to ocean health."

OFI is a powerful partnership that links ocean researchers at Dalhousie, Memorial University, and University of Prince Edward Island with leading national and international collaborators to deliver ocean research results and recommendations to inform government policy, community development, and industry needs. It was founded in 2016 thanks to a $94-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund designed to position Canada to become a global leader in the search for safe and sustainable solutions for harnessing the world’s ocean resources.

Ambassadors will promote and shape OFI’s future direction, engage with other leaders, and mentor early-career OFI researchers as junior ambassadors. They will be chosen not only for their experience and reputation, but their ability to explain research in plain language.

“OFI is entering its delivery phase, which means our scientists are writing papers to explain what they’ve learned from the research we’ve funded. It is important that the public understands what we are learning, and each one of us can play a positive role in the ocean’s health,” says Anya Waite, OFI’s Scientific Director and CEO. “Boris is the first natural choice for the role because of his long-standing engagement with both scientific exploration and public role in speaking about the incredible importance of the ocean to all of us.”

One of Dr. Worm’s first tasks as OFI ambassador is overseeing future episodes of Ocean School, which will be filmed on location as scientists involved in OFI’s six new research projects are at work in the field.

“The ocean is still largely unexplored and we really want to include everyone in both the excitement of discovery and the mission of building a safe and sustainable future”, says Worm. “Everyone can be part of this.”

OFI is expecting to announce the appointment of more ambassadors in other specialty areas including biodiversity, technology and social science to name a few. The Ambassador program provides a more formal mechanism to recognize distinguished ocean researchers for their scientific contributions to OFI.