Robin Abernethy


Marine Mammal Research Technician

Current research and/or projects

Robin Abernethy joined the Pacific Biological Station in 2005 as a research technician with the Cetacean Research Program. Robin graduated from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Biology in 2003. Prior to joining DFO Robin worked as a whale watching naturalist in Johnstone Strait, and then as a warden for the Robson Bight / Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve.

Robin’s participates in field research of SARA listed cetacean species including line transect surveys and photo identification of humpback, fin, and blue whales. She also provides field assistance for the program’s ongoing killer whale research. Robin continues to work closely with the Marine Mammal Response Network after coordinating the program as incident response coordinator in 2007.

Research and/or project statements

Robin Abernethy joined the Cetacean Research Program in 2005 and has been actively involved in several research projects involving the distribution, abundance, and foraging ecology of SARA listed cetaceans in British Columbia including: Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, and Killer whales. Experience with research techniques including photo-identification, biopsy sampling, prey sampling, satellite tagging, and acoustic monitoring. Robin is also involved with the monitoring of British Columbia's recovering Sea Otter population. Robin currently manages the Fin and Blue whale photo-identification catalogues and databases for British Columbia. Robin has also participated with several SARA recovery team processes. Robin completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Victoria in 2003, and an advanced diploma in Geographical Information Systems at Vancouver Island University in 2012.

Professional activities / interests

DFO Marine Mammal Research Technician – 2005 to Present

Field and laboratory research and analysis relating to studies of the abundance, distribution, movements, and habitat use of Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Killer whales whale, as well as Sea Otters within British Columbia.

Parks Facility Operator – 2005 (July-September)

Cetus Research and Conservation Society, Robson Bight Ecological Research Canada.
Monitoring and outreach focused activities within the Robson Bight Ecological Research and surrounding areas.

Research Assistant – 2005(January – May)

University of Hawaii, Maui, Hawaii, USA.
Research focused on the behavioral ecology of the humpback whale on their winter breeding grounds.

Research Assistant – 2004 (March – May), 2003 (May-August)

Simon Fraser University, Behavioral Ecology Research Group, Australia.
Research focused on tiger shark, dugong, and sea turtle interactions in a unique sea grass ecosystem.

Naturalist & Deckhand – 2004, 2002, 2001 (Summer Seasons)

Stubbs Island Whale Watching, Telegraph Cove, British Columbia, Canada.

Research Intern – 2000 (May – August)

University of Florida, Cape San Blas, Florida, USA
Research focused on the endangered loggerhead sea turtle and its barrier island nesting habitat.

Education and awards

B.SC. University of Victoria (2003)
ADGISA Vancouver Island University (2012)

Research facility

3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7