The ocean is vast and despite centuries of exploration, we’ve only examined about five per cent of what lies beneath the surface. This conference will examine the ocean of opportunity that OFI research is helping to discover in the North Atlantic.

SCHEDULE (sessions are subject to change)

Delta Hotel, 120 New Gower St., St. John ’s, NL

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

04:00 pm - 08:00 pm

Conference registration
Location: Crush Lobby

06:00 pm - 08:00 pm

Welcome reception
Location: Crush Lobby 

  • Hors d'oeuvres, cash bar 

Special guest: Dr. Gary Kachanoski, President and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University 

Day One

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

08:00 am - 09:00 am

Breakfast buffet
Location: served in Crush Lobby with seating in Salon A 

09:00 am - 10:00 am

Keynote Speaker: Megan Leslie, President & CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada 
Location: Salon A

Opportunities Knock: How science, partnerships and innovation will secure a future for our ocean 


About Megan Leslie
Megan began as head of WWF Canada in December of 2017 after nearly two years at the organization, first as a consultant on ocean governance, then as head of ocean conservation. Before joining WWF, Megan was a Member of Parliament, representing Halifax for two terms, during which she was deputy leader of the official Opposition, environment critic and vice-chair of the government committee on environment and sustainable development. 

In Ottawa, Megan introduced a motion and guided its unanimous passage to add plastic microbeads to the list of toxic substances under the Environmental Protection Act. She also worked across party lines to successfully expedite the passage of a bill to create Sable Island National Park Reserve. 

10:30 am - 12:30 pm

OFI Research Showcase: Our Changing Ocean
Location: Salon A

OFI research examines the changes that are occurring in the North Atlantic and how these changes are impacting our environment, our society and our economy. In this session, delegates will hear from principal investigators who will provide a broad overview of their work and the expected benefits it could create: 

Atmosphere-ocean interactions

Marine atmospheric composition & visibility 

Safe navigation & environmental protection 

Auditing the Northwest Atlantic carbon sink 

Shifting ecosystems

Dynamic response of microbial communities to change 

Ecosystem indicators 

Cooperative biogeochemical & physical model framework 

Ocean data & technology

Transforming ocean observations

Research data management & visualization 

12:30 pm - 01:30 pm

Lunch buffet

Location: served in Crush Lobby with seating in Salon A 

04:00 pm - 04:30 pm

Report from the breakout sessions
Location: Salon A

Moderators from each of the day's breakout sessions will share the key learnings. Paul Snelgrove, Associate Scientific Director of OFI will facilitate this fast, but informative, plenary. 

04:30 pm - 06:00 pm

Research "Show & Tell"'
Location: Salon B

Join OFI researchers, students and postdoctoral fellows as they use interactive experiences to describe their projects.

  • Hors d'oeuvres, cash bar 

06:00 pm - 07:00 pm

Introducing AIR Centre: a new organization for international research cooperation across the Atlantic
Location: Salon C


Integrating and advancing knowledge about the Atlantic Ocean and valuing its Islands as strategic research bases is among the driving forces for creating the AIR Centre. The initial outline of the science agenda highlights six Societal Benefit Areas, in which collaborative projects are being envisioned: Marine resources and biodiversity; Healthy and clean oceans; Systems integration from deep ocean to outer space; Mitigation and adaptation to climate change; Sustainable energy systems; and, Data science. AIR Centre will function as an international network of already existing entities and seek synergies to enhance research capabilities.

Learn more during this discussion with António Sarmento, Executive Director, AIR Centre.

  • Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; please enroll by sending an email to to ensure your place.

Prof. António Sarmento is the Executive Director of the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre). He is the founder and President of the Board of WavEC Offshore Renewables and a former Associate Professor of fluid dynamics in IST, Lisbon University. His scientific activity includes hydrodynamics, dynamics of floating bodies and marine renewable energies with special emphasis on numerical and experimental analysis of wave energy converters and floating offshore wind turbines. He is co-founder of the board of Ocean Energy Europe and member of several other national and international boards. He has an extensive experience in consulting work for technology developers, utilities, governments and public bodies in the field of marine renewable energy.

Day Two

Thursday, October 11, 2018

08:00 am - 09:00 am

Breakfast buffet
Location: served in Crush Lobby with seating in Salon A

09:00 am - 10:00 am

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Louis Fortier, Professor at Laval University
Location: Salon A

Louis Fortier will discuss “Trans-sectoral studies of the changing Arctic: shifts in ecosystems and ecosystem services”. A professor at Université Laval, Louis is a specialist of the ecology of marine zooplankton and fish. He holds the Canada Research Chair on the response of Arctic marine ecosystems to climate warming.


10:30 am - 12:30 pm

OFI Research Showcase: Identifying Solutions
Location: Salon A

OFI research doesn't just identify problems, it will recommend solutions to resolve our ocean challenges. In this session, delegates will hear from principal investigators who will provide a broad overview of their work and the effective approaches to resource development it will identify:

Sustainable fisheries

Future-proofing marine protected areas 

Sustainable capture fisheries & ecosystems 

Spatial dynamics of valued Atlantic groundfish

Informing governance responses 

Sustainable aquaculture

Improving sustainability & mitigating challenges 

Novel sensors for fish health and welfare 

New models of salmon health management 

Social license, planning in coastal communities  

12:30 pm - 01:30 pm

Lunch buffet
Location: served in Crush Lobby 

12:45 pm - 01:15 pm

Lunch with Senator Fabian Manning
Location: Salon A


“Aquaculture in Canada: An Ocean of Opportunities”

The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has completed a three-part study on the aquaculture industry in Canada. Senator Manning will present the results of the studies and speak about what the Committee has reported. 

About Senator Manning
The Honourable Fabian Manning has dedicated his career to serving Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at all three levels of government. A three-term councilor in the town of St. Brides, Mr. Manning served as coordinator for the Cape Shore Area Development Association for three years. Mr. Manning would go on to win three elections to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly as the representative for Placentia – St. Mary’s. Mr. Manning was subsequently elected as Member of Parliament in the federal constituency of Avalon in the 2006 Federal Election campaign. Mr. Manning served as chair of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans as well as the Conservative Government’s Atlantic caucus.

04:00 pm - 04:30 pm

Report from the breakout sessions
Location: Salon A

Moderators from each of the day's breakout sessions will share the key learnings. Paul Snelgrove, Associate Scientific Director of OFI will facilitate this fast, but informative, plenary. 

04:30 pm - 06:00 pm

"Thinking 'story' like a Journalist" - Panel and Pitch Pit Event
Location: Salon A

About the Session
Nancy Baron, Director of Science Outreach for COMPASS, will moderate this fun event where journalists discuss what makes a good story from their point of view. How are current events influencing science journalism and societies’ conversations? What are the challenges and opportunities today and how are they changing? Following a moderated discussion to provide insights and context, OFI students and postdoctoral researchers will pitch an ocean story idea to the panel of journalists in two minutes. The journalists will provide feedback and reactions: What did they like? What would they want to know more about? 

Liquid courage will be available via cash bar; snacks served

About the Panelists
Jane Adey is a radio broadcaster with CBC who has worked in just about every nook and cranny in Newfoundland and Labrador and is a regular contributor to the documentary program, Land & Sea. In 2015, she started hosting The Broadcast, which covers stories about people and the communities that depend on the sea for their livelihood.

Ivan Semeniuk reports on science for The Globe and Mail. A life-long communicator of scientific discoveries and ideas in print and broadcast media, his stories have informed Canadians on topics as diverse as space exploration, gene editing and species at risk. 

Kenneth R. Weiss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is a freelance magazine writer focusing on oceans, science and environmental issues. 

Dr. Brett Favaro is the academic director of the fisheries science graduate programs at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research is focused on building a sustainable future for the planet through marine conservation and renewable energy.

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Networking reception
Location: Crush Lobby  

  • Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar 

07:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Dinner with Newfoundland Kitchen Party & Screech In
Location: Salon A

What's a kitchen party?
St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador is a city of traditions, and some of the best of its customs (and parties!) start in the kitchen. The kitchen party is an iconic component the Province's lifestyle, with music, dancing and good times.  


What's a screech in?
The "screech-in" is a ceremony performed on non-Newfoundlanders (known to Newfoundlanders as those who "come from away"). It involves the consumption of screech (a type of rum), a short recitation and the kissing of a cod (yes, a cod fish!)

Day Three

Friday, Oct. 12, 2018

08:00 am - 09:00 am

Breakfast buffet
Location: served in Crush Lobby with seating in Salon A

09:00 am - 10:30 am

Panel discussion: industry's perspective on the importance of ocean research 
Location: Salon A

With the longest coastline and the fourth largest ocean territory in the world, the ocean's resources are one of Canada's most significant potential advantages. To leverage this opportunity in a sustainable way, industry, post-secondary, government, and other partners, including Indigenous communities must accelerate innovation and commercialization.

Moderator: Matt Hebb, CEO, Canada's Ocean Supercluster
An Atlantic Canadian leader with a proven ability to establish innovative projects across the region, Matt has been instrumental in the realization of several major ocean-related initiatives, including the Ocean Frontier Institute and the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE).


  • Carey Bonnell, Vice President, Sustainability, Ocean Choice
  • Susan Hunt, Chief Technology Officer, Canada's Ocean Supercluster 
  • Robert Orr, Managing Partner,
    Cuna del Mar 

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Conference closing remarks 
Location: Salon A

  • Remarks by Paul Snelgrove, OFI's Associate Scientific Director and Neil Bose, Memorial University's Vice-President (Research)

11:30 am - 04:00 pm

OFI future funding for research; gathering input on the possibilities 
Location: Salon A

  • Lunch will be served 

About the Session
OFI was established in September 2016 thanks to an investment of $227 million from the Government of Canada and various private and public-sector organizations. A significant portion of this funding was used to support 16 large research projects which are expected to be complete by 2022. A second phase of large research projects is expected to launch in 2019. OFI will use the conference to consult on the design for its second phase of funding with conference delegates providing input on ocean research priorities.  

About the Moderator
Anya Waite is OFI's Scientific Director and Associate Vice-President (Ocean) Research at Dalhousie University.