Ellen Kenchington, PhD
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
Recent Key Awards, Honours and Appointments
Pool of Experts, UN Bureau for the World Ocean Assessment 2013-2015
Assistant Deputy Minister Oceans and Science Distinction Award 2010
ICES Service Award, Copenhagen, Denmark 2010, 2012
Cox Chair in Fisheries Science, Dalhousie University 2009-2012
DFO Maritime Region Media Spokesperson of the Year Award 2008
BARRIO FROJAN, C., A.L. DOWNIE, M. SACAU CUADRADO, E. KENCHINGTON & A. KENNY, 2016. Evaluation of benthic assemblage structure in the NAFO regulatory area with regard to the protection of VME. ICES Journal of Marine Science 73: 405-419.
BEAZLEY, L., E. KENCHINGTON, F.J. MURILLO, C. LIRETTE, J. GUIJARRO, A. McMILLAN & A. KNUDBY. 2016. Species Distribution Modelling of Corals and Sponges in the Maritimes Region for use in the Identification of Significant Benthic Areas. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3172: vi+189p.
BEAZLEY, L., C. LIRETTE, J. SABANIEL, Z. WANG, A. KNUDBY, & E. KENCHINGTON. 2016. Characteristics of Environmental Data Layers for Use in Species Distribution Modelling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3154: viii + 357p.
BEAZLEY, L., F.J. MURILLO, E. KENCHINGTON, J. GUIJARRO, C. LIRETTE, T. SIFERD, M. TREBLE, E. BAKER, M. BOUCHARD MARMEN & G. TOMPKINS MACDONALD. 2016. Species Distribution Modelling of Corals and Sponges in the Eastern Arctic for Use in the Identification of Significant Benthic Areas. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3175: vii + 210p.
GUIJARRO, J., L. BEAZLEY, C. LIRETTE, E. KENCHINGTON, V. WAREHAM, K. GILKINSON, M. KOEN-ALONSO & F.J. MURILLO. 2016. Species Distribution Modelling of Corals and Sponges from Research Vessel Survey Data in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region for use in the Identification of Significant Benthic Areas. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3171: vi+126p.
JORQUERA, E., E. KENCHINGTON & D.E. RUZZANTE, 2016. High prevalence of multiple paternity in the deep-sea shrimp Acanthephyra pelagica. Marine Biology 163(4): published online.
KENCHINGTON, E., C. LIRETTE, F.J. MURILLO, L. BEAZLEY, J. GUIJARRO, V. WAREHAM, K. GILKINSON, M. KOEN ALONSO, H. BENOIT, H. BOURDAGES, B. SAINTE-MARIE, M. TREBLE, & T.SIFERD. 2016. Kernel Density Analyses of Coral and Sponge Catches from Research Vessel Survey Data for Use in Identification of Significant Benthic Areas. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3167: viii+207p.
KENCHINGTON, E., S. McLEAN, & J. RICE. 2016. Considerations for Identification of Effective Area-based Conservation Measures. DFO Canadian Scientific Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2016/020: v + 53 p.
KENCHINGTON, E., I. YASHAYAEV, O.S. TENDAL & H. JØRGENSBYE, 2016. Water mass characteristics and associated fauna of a recently discovered Lophelia pertusa (Scleractinia: Anthozoa) reef in Greenlandic waters. Polar Biology. Online May 12, 2016.
MALDONADO, M., R. AGUILAR, R. J. BANNISTER, J. BELL, K.W. CONWAY, P. K. DAYTON, C. DIAZ, J.GUTT, M. KELLY, E. L. R. KENCHINGTON, S. P. LEYS, S. A. POMPONI, H.T. RAPP, K RUTZLER, O. S. TENDAL, J. VACELET & C. M. YOUNG, 2016. Chapter12. Sponge grounds as key marine habitats: a synthetic review of types, structure, functional roles, and conservation concerns. In: Marine Animal Forests: the ecology of benthic biodiversity hotspots. (Eds.) Rossi S., Bramanti, L. Gori A., Orejas, C. Springer, Major Reference Works Series. Berlin. 39 pp.
MURILLO, F.J., E. KENCHINGTON, L. BEAZLEY, C. LIRETTE, A. KNUDBY, J. GUIJARRO, H. BENOIT, H. BOURDAGES, & B. SAINTE-MARIE. 2016. Distribution Modelling of Sea Pens, Sponges, Stalked Tunicates and Soft Corals from Research Vessel Survey Data in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for use in the Identification of Significant Benthic Areas. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3170: vi+132p.
MURILLO, F.J., E. KENCHINGTON, J.M. LAWSON, G. LI & D.J.W PIPER, 2016. Ancient deep-sea sponge grounds on the Flemish Cap, northwest Atlantic. Marine Biology Published online Feb 29 2016 DOI 10.1007/s00227-016-2839-5
MURILLO, F.J., A. SERRANO, E. KENCHINGTON & J. MORA, 2016. Epibenthic assemblages of the Tail of the Grand Bank and Flemish Cap (northwest Atlantic) in relation to environmental parameters and trawling intensity. Deep Sea Research I 109: 99-122.