Dr. Tanya M. Brown

Image Tanya M Brown
Research Scientist

Tanya’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing the contaminants of greatest concern to Southern Resident Killer Whales and St Lawrence Estuary Beluga. Her research addresses both the whales and their primary prey in “critical” and surrounding habitats, identifying the principal routes of exposure for these contaminants, and assessing biological effects of contaminants. Her research initiatives are carried out in partnership with First Nations, NGOs, Universities, and other agencies. She is committed to advising on mitigative actions that will help to recover these whale populations and their prey.

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Tanya Brown is a Research Scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in West Vancouver with the Ocean Sciences Division. She has been studying marine mammals and marine mammal ecotoxicology since 2005. Her past research has focused in large part on understanding the influence of habitat use and feeding ecology that drive contaminant exposure in ringed seals and the impacts on their health. Previous work also included assessing the effects of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems and developing marine benthic habitat classification schemes for areas of value to Inuit in Nunatsiavut.

Current research focuses on characterizing the contaminants of greatest concern to Southern Resident Killer Whales and St Lawrence Estuary Beluga. Her research addresses both the whales and their primary prey in “critical” and surrounding habitats and uses habitat use modelling, dietary tracers, and OMICs techniques to identify the principal routes of exposure for these contaminants and to assess the biological effects. In combination with risk-based assessments, Dr. Brown and her team aim to help recover SARA-listed whales and their prey. She works closely with First Nations, and partners with NGOs, Universities, and other agencies to ensure that her research is relevant and supports the conservation and recovery of valued ecosystem components.

Research and/or project statements

Professor at:

  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Windsor

Centre(s) of Expertise:

  • Pacific Science Enterprise Centre
  • Institute of Ocean Sciences

Education and awards

Ph.D. Biochemistry (2014) University of Victoria, British Columbia

M.Sc. Marine Biology (2007) Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland

B.Sc. Marine and Freshwater Biology (2004), University of Guelph, Ontario

Key publications

Wei, C., Cusson M., Archambault, P., Belley, R., Brown, T., Burd, B.J., Edinger, E.E., Kenchington, E., Gilkinson, K., Lawton, P., Link, H., Ramey-Balci, P.A., Scrosati, R.A., Snelgrove, P.V.R. 2020. Seafloor biodiversity of Canada’s three oceans: Patterns, hotspots, and potential drivers. 26(2): 226-241.

Yurkowski, D.J., Auger-Méthé, M., Mallory, M.L., Wong, S.N.P., Gilchrist, H.G., Gaston, A.J., Derocher, A.E., Richardson, E., Lunn, N.J., Hussey, N.E., Marcoux, M., Togunov, R., Fisk, A.T., Harwood, L.A., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., Dietz, R., Rosing-Asvid, A., Born, E.W., Mosbech, A., Fort, J., Loseto, L., Richard, P.R., Iacozza, J., Jean-Gagnon, F., Brown, T.M., Westdal, K.H., Orr, J., LeBlanc, B., Kessel, S.T., Blanchfield, P., Davis, S., Maftei, M., Spencer, N., McFarlane-Tranquilla, C.L., Montevecchi, W.A., Bartzen, B., Anderson, C., Ferguson, S.H. 2019. Abundance and species diversity hotspots of tracked marine predators across the North American Arctic. Diversity and Distributions, 25(3): 1-18.

Heddle, C., Elliott, J., Brown, T., Eng, M., Perkins, M., Basu, N., Williams, T. 2019. Continuous exposure to mercury during embryogenesis and chick development affects later survival and reproduction of zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). Ecotoxicology, doi: 10.1007/s10646-019-02074-6.

Brown, T.M., Lord, S.I., Schindler, D.W., Elliott, J.E. 2018. Organohalogen contaminants in common loons (Gavia immer) breeding in Western Alberta, Canada. Chemosphere, 202: 438-445.

Brown, T.M., Macdonald, R.W., Muir, D.C.G., Letcher R.J. 2018. Implications of the distribution and trends of persistent organic pollutants and mercury in marine mammals from Canada’s Eastern Arctic. Science of the Total Environment, 618: 500-517.

Brown, T.M., Takada, H. 2017. Indicators of marine pollution in the North Pacific Ocean. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 73(2): 171-175.

Brown, T.M., Hammond, A., Behsaz, B., Veldhoen, N., Birol, I., Helbing, C.C. 2017. De novo assembly of the ringed seal (Pusa hispida) blubber transcriptome: a tool that enables identification of molecular health indicators associated with PCB exposure. Aquatic Toxicology, 185: 48-57.

Houde, M., Wang, X., Ferguson, S.H., Gagnon, P., Brown, T.M., Tanabe, S., Kunito, T., Kwan, M., Muir, D.C.G. 2017. Spatial and temporal trends of emerging flame retardants and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in ringed seals (Phoca hispida) across the Canadian Arctic. Environmental Pollution, 223: 266-276.

Yurkowski, D.J., Semeniuk, C.A.D., Harwood, L.A., Rosing-Asvid, A., Dietz, R., Brown, T.M., Clackett, S., Grgicak-Mannion, A., Fisk, A.T., Ferguson, S.H. 2016. Influence of sea ice phenology on the movement ecology of ringed seals across their latitudinal range. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 562: 237-250.

Yurkowski, D.J., Ferguson, S.H., Choy, E.S., Loseto, L.L., Brown, T.M., Muir, D.C.G., Semeniuk, C.A.D., Fisk, A.T. 2016. Latitudinal variation in ecological opportunity and intra-specific competition indicates differences in niche variability and diet specialization of Arctic marine predators. Ecology and Evolution, 6(6): 1666-1678.

Brown, T.M., Fisk, A.T., Wang, X., Ferguson, S.H., Young, B.G., Reimer, K.J., Muir, D.C.G. 2016. Mercury and cadmium in ringed seals in the Canadian Arctic: Influence of location and diet. Science of the Total Environment, 545: 503-511.

Brown, T.M., Ross, P.S., Reimer, K.J. 2015. Transplacental transfer of polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenylethers, and organochlorine pesticides in ringed seals (Pusa hispida). Archives of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 70(1): 20-27. DOI 10.1007/s00244-015-0191-1.

Yurkowski, D.J., Ferguson, S.H., Semeniuk, C.A.D., Brown, T.M., Muir, D.C.G., Fisk, A.T. 2015. Spatial and temporal variation of an ice-adapted predator’s feeding ecology in a changing Arctic marine ecosystem. Oecologia, DOI 10.1007/s00442-015-3384-5.

Brown, T.M., Iverson, S.J., Fisk, A.T., Macdonald, R.W., Helbing, C.C., Reimer, K.J. 2015. Local contamination, and not feeding preferences, explains elevated PCB concentrations in Labrador ringed seals (Pusa hispida). Science of the Total Environment, 515-516: 188-197.

Brown, T.M., Ross, P.S., Reimer, K.J., Veldhoen, N., Dangerfield, N.J., Fisk, A.T., Helbing, C.C. 2014. PCB related effects thresholds as derived through gene transcript profiles in locally contaminated ringed seals (Pusa hispida) from Labrador, Canada. Environmental Science and Technology, 48(21): 12952-61.

Brown, T.M., Luque, S., Sjare, B., Fisk, A.T., Helbing, C.C., Reimer, K.J. 2014. Satellite telemetry informs PCB source apportionment in a mobile, high trophic level marine mammal – the ringed seal (Pusa hispida). Environmental Science and Technology, 48(22): 13110-9.

Braune, B., Chetelat, J., Amyot, M., Brown, T., Claydon, M., Evans, M., Fisk, A., Gaden, A., Girard, C., Hare, A., Kirk, J., Lehnherr, I., Letcher, R., Loseto, L., Macdonald, R., Mann, E., McMeans, B., Muir, D., O-Driscoll, N., Poulain, A., Reimer, K., Stern, G. 2014. Mercury in the marine environment of the Canadian Arctic: Review of recent findings. Science of the Total Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.05.133.

Brown, T.M., Fisk, A.T., Helbing, C.C., Reimer, K.J. 2014. PCB profiles in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) reveal historical contamination by a military radar station in Labrador, Canada. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33: 592-601.

Brown, T.M., Kuzyk, Z.Z., Stow, J., Burgess, N.M., Solomon, S.M., Sheldon, T.A., Reimer, K.J. 2013. An effects-based marine Effects-based Marine Ecological Risk Assessment at a Polychlorinated Biphenyl Contaminated Site in Saglek, Labrador, Canada. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32: 453-467.

Pufall, E.L., Jones, A.Q., McEwen, S.A., Brown, T.M., Edge, V.L., Rokicki, J., Peregrine, A.S., Simard, M. 2012. Prevalence of zoonotic anisakid nematodes, and risk factors for abundance, in Inuit caught fish and marine mammals from Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, Canada. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 11: 1002-9.

Carr, C., Hardy, S.M., Brown, T.M., Macdonald, T.A., Hebert, P.D.N. 2011. A Tri-Oceanic Perspective: DNA Barcoding Reveals Geographic Structure and Cryptic Diversity in Canadian Polychaetes. PLoS One 6: 1-12.

Brown, T.M., Edinger, E.E., Hooper, R.G., Belliveau, K. 2011. Benthic Marine Fauna and Flora, of Two Nearshore Coastal Locations in the Western and Central Canadian Arctic. Arctic 64: 281-301.

Brown, T.M., Sheldon, T.A., Burgess, N.M. and Reimer, K.J. 2009. Reduction of PCB contamination in an Arctic coastal environment: a first step in assessing ecosystem recovery after the removal of a point source. Environmental Science and Technology 43: 7635-7642.

BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS

Carpenter, M., Brown, T.M., Bell, T., Martel, A., Edinger, E. 2020. Geomorphic features and benthic habitats of a subarctic fjard: Okak Bay, Nunatsiavut, Labrador. In: Harris, P.T., Baker, E.K. (Eds), Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat (Second Edition): GeoHab Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 303-317. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814960-7.00016-6

Bell, T., Brown, T.M. 2018. From Science to Policy in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization. ArcticNet, Quebec City, pp. 460.

Brown, T.M., Macdonald, R.W., Muir, D.C.G., Letcher R.J. 2018. Chapter 10: Distribution and patterns of persistent organic pollutants and mercury. In: Bell, T., Brown, T.M. (Eds), From Science to Policy in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization. ArcticNet, Quebec City.

Brown, T.M., Bell, T. 2018. Chapter 1: Regional Geography. In: Bell, T., Brown, T.M. (Eds), From Science to Policy in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization. ArcticNet, Quebec City.

Brown, T.M., Boertmann, D., Becker Jacobsen, R., Barrette, C., Rigét, F., Bell, T. 2018. Chapter 2: General description of the BBDS region. In: AMAP 2017: Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic – Perspectives from the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway.

Bidleman, T., Kurt-Karakus, P., Armitage, J., Brown, T., Danon-Schaffer, M., Helm, P., Hung, H., Jantunen, L., Kylin, H., Li, Y., Loock, D., Luttmer, C., Ma, J., Macdonald, R., Mackay, D., Reid, L., Reimer, K. 2013. Chapter 2 – Properties, Sources, Global Fate and Transport. In: Muir, D., Kurt-Karakus, P., Stow, J. (Eds), Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report on Persistent Organic Pollutants – 2013. Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp 19-146.

Ross, P., Loseto, L., Braune, B., Brown, T., Johnson, K., Letcher, R., Muir, D., Reimer, K. 2013. Chapter 5 – Biological Effects of Halogenated Organic Contaminants. In: Muir, D., Kurt-Karakus, P., Stow, J. (Eds), Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report on Persistent Organic Pollutants – 2013. Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp 423-457.

Brown, T., Reimer, K., Sheldon, T., Bell, T. 2012. Chapter 10. A first look at Nunatsiavut Kangidualuk (‘fjord’) ecosystems. In: Allard, M. and Lemay, M. (Eds), Nunavik and Nunatsiavut: From science to policy. An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of climate change and modernization. ArcticNet Inc., Quebec City, Canada, pp 271-301.

Chételat, J., Amyot, M., Braune, B., Brown, T., Evans, M., Fisk, A., Gaden, A., Girard, C., Hare, A., Kirk, J., Lehnherr, I., Letcher, R., Loseto, L., Macdonald, R., McMeans, B., Muir, D., Poulain, A., Reimer, K., Sheldon, T., Stern, G. 2012. Chapter 6 – Marine Environment. In: Chételat, J., Braune, B. (Eds), Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report III 2012 – Mercury in Canada’s North. Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Ottawa, ON, pp 159-211.

Research facility

4160 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC V7V 1H2
Canada

Affiliations

Environmental Monitoring Committee

Contaminant Working Group

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)

The Society for Marine Mammalogy

Language

English