Programme and Presenter Schedule

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Rory McCauley
Senior Research Scientist, shark and ray sustainability, Western Australian Department of Fisheries
Plenary title: Monitoring & mitigating Western Australian shark hazards 

Dr. Rory McAuley is a Principal Research Scientist with the Western Australian (WA) Department of Fisheries who has twenty years’ experience studying the fisheries biology of sharks and conducting quantitative assessments of their stocks in the South-East Indian Ocean. As manager of the Department’s shark and ray sustainability research programs, his primary role has been to provide scientific advice on the development and evaluation of fishery and marine conservation policies. However, due to increasing demands for advice on the risks posed by sharks and the ecological factors contributing to occasional shark bite incidents around WA’s extensive coastline, his research has more recently focussed on the application of acoustic telemetry approaches to better understand and monitor potential shark hazards. This collaborative research with other Australian and state government scientists, cage-diving tourism operators, and the Ocean Tracking Network project has revealed the first detailed information about movements of the elusive and potentially dangerous white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in Western Australian waters. Additionally, this work has pioneered the use of real-time acoustic telemetry capabilities, online mapping, and social-media to keep the public and safety officials better informed about the presence of sharks off some of Western Australia’s most popular beaches.

Chris Holbrook 
Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Plenary title: Plan for the worst and hope for the best: Using pilot data and simulation to design telemetry studies 

Christopher Holbrook studies the effects of human activities on fish population dynamics, with special interests in native fish restoration and invasive species control. His current research focuses on invasive sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes using fish tracking technology (acoustic telemetry) and mark-recapture modelling to evaluate sea lamprey control and assessment strategies, work supported by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC).

Sara Iverson
Scientific Director, Ocean Tracking Network
Plenary title: The potential of networking to transform aquatic animal telemetry science 

Dr. Sara Iverson is the Scientific Director of the global Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and Professor of Biology at Dalhousie University. Sara received her PhD jointly from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Maryland and is a former NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow. Sara’s primary research focus is understanding how animals adapt to and exploit their environments, and the physiological and biochemical mechanisms that constrain or provide opportunities for them to do so. Her research program uses a suite of tools, including biochemical tracers, energetic measurements and telemetry, to better understand the biology of marine vertebrates and the food webs within which they function.

Francisco Chavez
Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Plenary title: Ocean Ecosystems in a Warmer World: Review and Observing Needs 

Dr. Francisco Chavez was one of the first scientists of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, where he has been for twenty years and serves as Senior Scientist. At MBARI, Chavez pioneered time series research and the development of new instruments and systems to make this type of research sustainable. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, with 10 in Nature and Science. Chavez is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences, honoured for distinguished research on the impact of climate variability on oceanic ecosystems and global carbon cycling. He was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Pedro Ruiz Gallo in Peru in recognition of his distinguished scientific career and for contributing to elevate academic and cultural levels of university communities in particular and society in general.



WTCC = World Trade & Convention Centre

Sunday, 12 July

10 a.m – noon — Ocean Tracking Network Data Workshop (Marta Mihoff, Jon Pye  |  Ocean Tracking Network) Rowe Building, Dalhousie University

Learn about and install the Ocean Tracking Network’s Sandbox Virtual Machine, and use the suite of tools it provides to analyze, filter, and visualize detection data. A new tool that can be used to identify cohort behaviour will be presented, as well as methods for exploring and visualizing the resulting dataset. Also, learn about OTN’s shared community software repository (GitLab).

10 a.m – 1 p.m. — VEMCO Acoustic Telemetry Workshop WTCC, Room 200

The development and popularity of VEMCO’s VR2 automated acoustic receiver technology has significantly increased over the last several years. This technology is currently being used by biologists worldwide to assess movement patterns, behaviour, and site fidelity of fishes and invertebrates.
VEMCO staff will discuss several detailed technical issues related to this passive and active acoustic technology providing users with the tools to use the equipment effectively. Topics may include Understanding Single Frequency Telemetry, Equipment Overview and Representative Deployments, Code Maps & Worldwide Unique IDs, Data Rate and Collisions, Detection Performance & Range Limits, Vemco User Environment (VUE) Software, VR2W Positioning System (VPS), and New Product Developments.

Participants are encouraged to help us explore problems regarding deployment methods, experimental design, identification of unknown codes, data management, handling and analysis.

noon – 6 p.m. — REGISTRATION  WTCC Level 2

1:30 – 3 p.m. OTN Futures MeetinWTCC, Summit Suite

Where should marine biological science be going? The Ocean Tracking Network is posing this question to the broader scientific community as we begin to consider our next iteration. We challenge you to come up with interdisciplinary, transformative, disruptive, and game-changing ideas for the future OTN. To offer input please complete our questionnaire, which will be used to begin the process of producing concepts that we hope to weave together into our future vision. Please contact for more details, or with trouble accessing the survey.

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. — Wildlife Computers Workshop Delta Halifax, Baronet Ballroom 

Wildlife Computers invites you to experience our exciting new cloud-based Web Portal, a comprehensive collection of tools and frameworks for retrieving, decoding, displaying and sharing your Argos and archival data. Through an interactive demonstration, learn how the Web Portal features will add value to your project, saving time and effort while ensuring data are preserved in a clear and usable format. Building on the Web Portal discussion we will also highlight recently released products introducing newer technologies, including our Mote unattended ground-based receiving stations and finmount Fastloc® GPS tags.
Wildlife Computers representatives will be in attendance throughout the conference to provide support and share information with you on how we can truly make a difference to your research requirements.

Website:      Email:

3 p.m. – 5 p.m. — Student Poster Session WTCC Main Room

The first of two ICFT poster sessions, students and early-career scientists are invited to present their work. Students presenting on Sunday are encouraged to present their research during the Tuesday Poster Session, during which all poster presenters will demonstrate their research. 

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — 3rd ICFT Welcoming Reception WTCC, Summit Suite 

Please join us in welcoming ICFT delegates from across the globe. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Gilles Patry, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (the Ocean Tracking Network’s principle supporting body), will give opening remarks. Light catering provided.

Monday, 13 July

8 a.m. (all-day) — REGISTRATION  WTCC Level 2

noon – 1 p.m. — Science Communication Workshop – Part I: From Pings to Podcasts WTCC Main Room

You spend months analyzing data that took weeks of planning to collect and endless days of animal tagging. But you’ve only got 60 seconds to inform and inspire a visiting politician. Can you do it? This workshop will challenge you to extend your creativity beyond experimental design and embrace your inner artist to effectively communicate your science. Tips for creating an engaging elevator pitch, making a podcast of your published papers and incorporating artwork into your research will be shared. 

5:45 p.m. — Animal Telemetry Charter Meeting WTCC Main Room


7 p.m.  Lobster Dinner and Cèilidh Murphy’s Cable Wharf

 A cèilidh (pronounced KAY-lee) is a traditional social gathering involving folk Scottish or Irish music. 

Tuesday, 14 July

8 a.m. (all-day) — REGISTRATION  WTCC Level 2

noon – 1 p.m. — Science Communication Workshop – Part II: Knowledge Mobilization WTCC Main Room

Ever wonder what happens to knowledge that you have created through your research? Ever wonder why some knowledge are taken up quicker than others? What actually constitutes successful knowledge mobilization outcomes? This knowledge mobilization workshop aims to share stories and thoughts about what happens to your research in the dissemination “after life”. The workshop will provide theoretical background on knowledge mobilization, its importance, and how it relates to fish telemetry research.

6 p.m. — Poster Session WTCC Main Room

All poster presenters (including students) to present their work Tuesday evening.
The Early-career Researcher/Senior Scientists mentorship event takes place during this poster session. If you have signed up for this event, but have not received your JS/SS match, please email Light catering provided.

Wednesday, 15 July

All-day — ICFT Field Trip to Lunenburg 

Spend part of the day in the Historic Village of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two tours depart the WTCC (Argyle Entrance) at 9 a.m. and noon, respectively. Register for Tour 1 (9 a.m. Halifax departure) or Tour 2 (noon Halifax departure) at the registration desk beginning on Sunday at noon. First come, first served for tour times. Learn more. Lunch not provided.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. — Shark Night in Halifax Potter Auditorium, Rowe Building, Dalhousie University

Twenty-eight species of shark have been reported across Canada’s Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Close to half of them are threatened, but still many Canadians don’t know that sharks are at home in our waters.  Join us for a keynote presentation by Dr. Nigel Hussey (University of Windsor and the Ocean Tracking Network), an expert on the mysterious Greenland shark, followed by Halifax’s first ever Shark Trivia Cage Match pitting both experts and audience against the world’s most viciously clever questions on sharks. Prizes and praise will be awarded to the victors. Trivia will be followed by networking. Learn more.

Thursday, 16 July

noon – 1 p.m. — Lotek Workshop – Telemetry without Boundaries – An ecosystem approach WTCC Main Room

You  have answered all the questions you can with your compliment of telemetry receivers, but questions remain?  You are not alone. We are pleased to present guest speakers who will outline studies in which, through the use of a single transmitter, collected data using different receiver brands and types.  Gaining greater insight about their species of interest as it passed through a variety of environments.  Deep to shallow water, freshwater or saltwater, providing gross and fine-scale temporal movement, thereby, making it possible to maximize the capabilities of multiple telemetry technologies with minimal impact to the animal. 

Friday, 17 July

1 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Modelling of Animal Movement (Dr. Joanna Mills Flemming, Jon Pye, Dr. Marie Auger-Methe, and Kim Whoriskey  |  Ocean Tracking Network)  WTCC 203

Introduction to the R-package Template Model Builder (TMB) and demonstration of its utility for analyzing complex animal movement data. Participants will be able to build analytical skills in a hands-on environment with help from experienced TMB-users. After a concise introduction to TMB, work through a spatial analysis of VPS data for answering biological/ecological questions of interest. All interested researchers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about TMB in a stress-free environment.  Lunch provided.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m. — Tropical Fish Telemetry Workshop (Lisiane Hahn | Neotropical Consultoria Ambiental; Luiz Gustavo Martins da Silva | Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei – UFSJ; Domingos Garrone Neto | Universidade Estadual Paulista – UNESP) WTCC Main Room

Telemetry techniques have been widely applied to fisheries research in temperate regions since the 1970s, but relatively few studies have been performed in tropical rivers and estuaries. Many obstacles has to be overcome, given the diversity of fish and the many unknowns associated with fish biology and natural history coupled with the difficulties associated with working in large and relatively remote areas. The Tropical Telemetry Fish Workshop will discuss the challenges in working in tropical regions and the novel results about fish movements in tropical rivers and estuaries. Lunch provided.