Current research and/or projects
As a benthic ecologist, Dr. Ellen Kenchington studies the organisms which live on or in the seafloor. She works to deepen our understanding of their relationship with the sediment and the seabed structure they are found on, as well as the overlying water masses which may control their distributions. Her research takes place primarily on the continental shelves and slopes and in water depths of up to 3,000 meters or more. The research relies on large-scale habitat mapping, seabed mapping and water mass characteristics to be able to predict the distribution of organisms important in the marine ecosystem, such as deep-water coral and sponge beds. Domestically she has provided scientific support for the Policy for Managing the Impact of Fishing on Sensitive Benthic Areas and contributed to the establishment of the first area closure under that policy. Recently she has been working to establish benthic biodiversity monitoring sites in the Canadian Arctic in support of the Arctic Council’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Plan and to model benthic species distributions in the northwest Atlantic.
Watch as Ellen explains her work in understanding organisms that live in deep waters.
Research and/or project statements
- EU Horizon 2020 Project, Call H2020-BG-2015-2: BG-01-2015 Improving the preservation and sustainable exploitation of Atlantic marine ecosystems. NUMBER — 679849 SponGES: Deep-sea Sponge Grounds Ecosystems of the North Atlantic: an integrated approach towards their preservation and sustainable exploitation. (Co-PI w. H.T. Rapp, Norway; S. Pomponi, USA), ~10M Euro (~14.7M CDN$).
- EU Horizon 2020 Project, Call H2020-BG-2015-2: BG-01-2015 Improving the preservation and sustainable exploitation of Atlantic marine ecosystems. NUMBER — 678760-2 ATLAS: A Trans-AtLantic Assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based Spatial management plan for Europe. (Case Study Leader), ~10M Euro (~14.7M CDN$).
-International Governance Strategy, Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ): 3-Tiers of Diversity (Genes-Species-Communities)
Professional activities / interests
-provision of scientific advice in support of national and international policy related to deep sea ecosystems and biodiversity
-offshore benthic ecology with a focus on the continental shelves and slopes
-impacts of fishing
Education and awards
Ph.D. (Botany) Botany Department, University of Tasmania (1987)
M.Sc. (Distinction) Department of Biology, Dalhousie University (1983)
B.Sc. (Honours) Department of Biology, Dalhousie University (1981)
KENCHINGTON, T., D.E. THEMELIS, S.C. DEVANEY & E. KENCHINGTON, 2020. The meso- and bathypelagic fishes in a large submarine canyon: assemblage structure of the principal species in The Gully Marine Protected Area. Frontiers in Marine Science. Deep-Sea Environments and Ecology, Managing Deep-sea Ecosystems at Ocean Basin Scale, 7:181. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00181
MORATO, T., J.-M. GONZALEZ-IRUSTA, C. DOMINGUEZ-CARRIO, C.-L. WEI, A. DAVIES, A.K. SWEETMAN, et al. 2020. Climate-induced changes in the suitable habitat of cold-water corals and commercially important deep-sea fishes in the North Atlantic. Global Change Biology. Early Online Publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14996
MURILLO, F.J., E. KENCHINGTON, M. KOEN-ALONSO, J. GUIJARRO, T.J. KENCHINGTON, et al., 2020. Mapping benthic ecological diversity and interactions with bottom-contact fishing on the Flemish Cap (northwest Atlantic). Ecological Indicators 112 (2020) 106135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106135
MURILLO, F.J., B. WEIGEL, E. KENCHINGTON, & M. BOUCHARD MARMEN, 2020. Marine epibenthic functional diversity on Flemish Cap (northwest Atlantic) – identifying trait responses to the environment and mapping ecosystem functions. Diversity and Distributions 26(4): 460-478. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13026
PUERTA, P., C. JOHNSON, M. CARREIRO-SILVA, L.-A. HENRY, E. KENCHINGTON, T. MORATO, et al., 2020. Influence of water masses on the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea benthic ecosystems in the North Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science Deep-Sea Environments and Ecology, Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), 7:239. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00239
BOUCHARD MARMEN, M., G. TOMPKINS, N. HARRINGTON, A. SAVARD-DROUIN, M. WELS, et al. 2019. Sponges from the 2010-2014 Paamiut Multispecies Trawl Surveys, Eastern Arctic and Subarctic: Class Demospongiae, Subclass Heteroscleromorpha, Order Poecilosclerida, Families Microcionidae, Acarnidae and Esperiopsidae. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3349: v + 76 p.
HAMEL, J.-F., J. SUN, B.L. GIANASI, E.M. MONTGOMERY, E.L.R. KENCHINGTON, et al., 2019. Active buoyancy adjustment increases dispersal potential in benthic marine animals. Journal of Animal Ecology (early online publication). https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12943
HAWKES, N., M. KORABIK, L. BEAZLEY, H.T. RAPP, J.R. XAVIER & E. KENCHINGTON, 2019. Glass sponge grounds on the Scotian Shelf and their associated biodiversity. Marine Ecology Progress Series 614: 91-109. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12903
JOHNSON, D. & E. KENCHINGTON, 2019. Should potential for climate change refugia be considered as an eighth criterion for describing EBSAs? Conservation Letters e12634 (early online publication). https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12634
KENCHINGTON, E., O. CALLERY, F. DAVIDSON, A. GREHAN, T. MORATO, et al. 2019. Use of Species Distribution Modeling in the Deep Sea. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3296: ix + 76 p.
KENCHINGTON, E., C. LIRETTE, F.J. MURILLO, L. BEAZLEY, L. & A.L. DOWNIE, 2019. Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the NAFO Regulatory Area: Updated Kernel Density Analyses of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem Indicators. NAFO Scientific Council Report 10/058, Serial No. N7030, 68 p.
KENCHINGTON, E., B.W. MACDONALD, A. COGSWELL, L.C. HAMILTON, A.P. DIZ, 2019. Sex-specific effects of hybridization on reproductive fitness in Mytilus. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 2019; 00: 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzs.12348
KENCHINGTON, E., Z. WANG, C. LIRETTE, F.J. MURILLO, J. GUIJARRO, I. YASHAYAEV & M. MALDONADO, 2019. Connectivity modelling of areas closed to protect Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the northwest Atlantic. Deep Sea Research Part I, 143: 85-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2018.11.007.
KOEN-ALONSO, M., P. PEPIN, M.J. FOGARTY, A. KENNY & E. KENCHINGTON, 2019. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Roadmap for the development and implementation of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries: structure, state of development, and challenges. Marine Policy 100: 342-352.
PHAM, C.K., F.J. MURILLO, C. LIRETTE, M. MALDONADO, A. COLACO, E. KENCHINGTON, 2019. Removal of deep-sea sponges by bottom trawling in the Flemish Cap area: conservation, ecology and economic assessment. Nature Scientific Reports 9; Article number: 15843. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52250-1
WANG, S., Z.WANG, C. LIRETTE, A. DAVIES & E. KENCHINGTON, 2019. Comparison of Physical Connectivity Particle Tracking Models in the Flemish Cap Region. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3353: v + 39 p.
WEI, C.-L., CUSSON, M, Archambault, P., Belley, R., Brown, T, Burd, B.J., Edinger, E., Kenchington, E., Gilkinson, K., Lawton, P., Link, H., Ramey-Balci, P.A., Scrosati, R.A., Snelgrove, P.V.R, 2019. Seafloor Biodiversity of Canada’s Three Oceans: patterns, hotspots, and potential drivers. Diversity and Distributions 2019; 00:1–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13013
BAKER, E., B. ODENTHAL,W. WALKUSZ, T. SIFERD, P. RIOS, G. TOMPKINS & E. KENCHINGTON, 2018. Sponges from the 2010-2014 Paamiut Multispecies Trawl Surveys, Eastern Arctic and Subarctic: Class Demospongiae, Subclass Heteroscleromorpha, Order Poecilosclerida, Families Dendoricellidae and Tedaniidae. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3282: v + 46pp.
BAKER, E., L. BEAZLEY, A. McMILLAN, J. ROWSWELL & E. KENCHINGTON, 2018. Epibenthic Megafauna of the Disko Fan Conservation Area in the Davis Strait (Eastern Arctic) Identified from In Situ Benthic Image Transects. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3272: vi + 388 p.
BAKER, E., B. ODENTHAL, G. TOMPKINS, W. WALKUSZ, T. SIFERD, & E. KENCHINGTON, 2018. Sponges from the 2010-2014 Paamiut Multispecies Trawl Surveys, Eastern Arctic and Subarctic: Class Demospongiae, Subclass Heteroscleromorpha, Order Poecilosclerida, Families Crellidae and Myxillidae. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3253: iv + 52 p.
BEAZLEY, L., Z. WANG, E. KENCHINGTON, I. YASHAYAEV, H.T. RAPP, J.R. XAVIER, F.J. MURILLO, D. FENTON & S. FULLER. 2018. Predicted distribution of the glass sponge Vazella pourtalesi on the Scotian Shelf and its persistence in the face of climatic variability. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205505.
BEAZLEY, L., J. GUIJARRO, C. LIRETTE, Z. WANG, & E. KENCHINGTON, 2018. Characteristics of Environmental Data Layers for Use in Species Distribution Modelling in the Eastern Canadian Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3248: vii + 488p.
BEAZLEY, L., C. PHAM, J. MURILLO, & E. KENCHINGTON, 2017. Cruise Report for the DFO/SponGES CCGS Martha L. Black Oceanographic Mission (MLB2017001), August 31 to September 7, 2017. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3242: vi + 42p.
JOHNSON, D., M.A. FERREIRA & E. KENCHINGTON. 2018. Climate change is likely to severely limit the effectiveness of deep-sea ABMTs in the North Atlantic. Marine Policy 87: 111-122.
KENCHINGTON, T.J., D. THEMELIS, S. DEVANEY & E.L. KENCHINGTON, 2018. The Meso- and Bathypelagic Fish Assemblage in The Gully: Data Preparation and Species’ Distributions. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3268: v+153p.
MURILLO, F.J., E. KENCHINGTON, G. TOMPKINS, L. BEAZLEY, E. BAKER, A. KNUDBY, & W. WALKUSZ. 2018. Sponge assemblages and predicted archetypes in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Marine Ecology Progress Series 597: 115-135.
MURILLO, F.J., B. MACDONALD, E. KENCHINGTON, S. CAMPANA, B. SAINTE-MARIE & M. SACAU. 2018. Morphometry and growth of sea pen species from dense habitats in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, eastern Canada. Marine Biology Research Volume 14, 2018 - Issue 4 DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2017.1417604
MURILLO, F.J., E. KENCHINGTON, D. CLARK, J. EMBERLEY, C. REGNIER-McKELLAR, J. GUIJARRO, L. BEAZLEY, & M.C. WONG, 2018. Cruise Report for the CCGS Alfred Needler Maritimes Region Research Vessel Summer Multispecies Survey, June 28 to August 14, 2017: Benthic Invertebrates. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3262: v + 41 p.
BEAZLEY, L., J. GUIJARRO, C. LIRETTE, Z. WANG, & E. KENCHINGTON. 2017. Characteristics of Environmental Data Layers for Use in Species Distribution Modelling in the Maritimes Region. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3212: vii + 327.
BEAZLEY, L., E. KENCHINGTON & C. LIRETTE. 2017. Species Distribution Modelling and Kernel Density Analysis of Benthic Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) and Other Benthic Fauna in the Maritimes Region. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3204: vi + 159.
BOUCHARD MARMEN, M., E. KENCHINGTON, M. ARDYNA & P. ARCHAMBAULT. 2017. Influence of seabird colonies and other environmental variables on benthic community structure, Lancaster Sound Region, Canadian Arctic. Journal of Marine Systems 167:105-117.
EGHTESADI ARAGHI P., J. RICE, M. BANKS, C. BISSADA, E. ESCOBAR-BRIONES, F. GAILL, S. K. JUNIPER, A. KAWSER, E. KENCHINGTON, N. PRESTON, G. PROCACCINI, N. RAMAIAH, A. ROGERS, W. ROMMENS, Z. SENLIN & M. THORNDYKE. 2017. Use of Marine Genetic Resources. Chapter 29. In United Nations (Ed.), The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment: World Ocean Assessment I (pp. 451-458). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
KENCHINGTON, E., I. YASHAYAEV, O.S. TENDAL & H. JØRGENSBYE, 2017. Water mass characteristics and associated fauna of a recently discovered Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia: Anthozoa) reef in Greenlandic waters. Polar Biology 40: 321-337.
KENCHINGTON, E.L., S.M. BAILLIE, T.J. KENCHINGTON & P. BENTZEN. 2017. Barcoding Atlantic Canada's mesopelagic and upper bathypelagic marine fishes. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0185173.
TOMPKINS, G., E. BAKER, L. ANSTEY, W. WALKUSZ, T. SIFERD, & E. KENCHINGTON, 2017. Sponges from the 2010-2014 Paamiut Multispecies Trawl Surveys, Eastern Arctic and Subarctic: Class Demospongiae, Subclass Heteroscleromorpha, Order Poecilosclerida, Family Coelosphaeridae, Genera Forcepia and Lissodendoryx. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3224: v + 129.