Our Team

The Canadian Whale Institute team is  a dynamic group, including core Staff, Educators, Whale Rescuers, Researchers, and Advisors, all focused on protecting marine mammals and their habitats.

Moira Brown, Senior Scientist

Moira was raised in Montreal QC and developed her passion for the ocean during family seaside vacations in New Hampshire. After her first career in physical education, the pull of the oceans brought her to the Bay of Fundy to volunteer for a right whale research study in 1985. She has returned every year since and finally made Campobello Island her year-round home in 2016.

Moira is CWI’s senior scientist. Her research includes studies on the distribution, population biology and genetics of North Atlantic right whales. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Marine Mammal Science, Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, Marine Policy, Ecology and Evolution, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Journal of Mammalogy, Conservation Genetics, Fishery Bulletin, Molecular Ecology, and many more.

Moira was the lead author for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Canadian Recovery Strategy for North Atlantic Right Whales for compliance with the Species at Risk Act legislation, in 2009.

Moira’s conservation work is focused on vessel collisions with right whales in Atlantic Canadian waters. She served as co-chair of the Canadian North Atlantic Right Whale Implementation Team and the Canadian Vessel/Whale working group. Working with the shipping industry, scientists at Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS), Canadian government regulators and the International Maritime Organization, she was instrumental in developing two conservation measures that substantially reduce the risk of vessel strikes of right whales in the Bay of Fundy and the waters south of Nova Scotia.

Moira’s achievements were recognized with a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 2002, a Canadian Environment Award in 2003, a lifetime achievement award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2006, the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership in 2009 and a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from Mount Allison University in 2012.

Her work continues - focused on the human-related threats to right whales in Atlantic Canadian waters and the identification of conservation measures to reduce the effect of human activities on right whale numbers. She presently serves on four committees: The North Atlantic Right Whale- Vessel Interactions Advisory Working Group, the Right Whale-Large Vessel Interactions Technical Sub-Committee; the Right Whale-Fishing Vessel Interactions Technical Sub-Committee and North Atlantic Right Whale Technical Working Group.

Moira holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Guelph and two Bachelors degrees (in Environmental Conservation and in Education) from McGill University.

Prior to joining CWI full time, she was Program Director, Right Whale Population Studies, at the Center for Coastal Studies, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she also trained in whale rescue techniques. She is an Emeritus Scientist, at the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, in Boston, Massachusetts. Moira is one of only five expert whale disentanglers recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Connect with Moira on LinkedIn here.

Mackie Greene, Director, Campobello Whale Rescue Program

Mackie was born and raised on Campobello Island and by the age of 13 owned his first boat. He worked on fishing boats and in fish processing plants throughout high school. After graduating, Mackie studied navigation at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) in St. Andrews, NB. He continued his education at Holland College Marine Training Center, in Summerside, PEI and at the Caraquet School of Fisheries.

Mackie has been a licensed captain since 1990 and has owned and operated Island Cruises Marine Adventure Ltd, a whale watch business on Campobello Island, since 1995. In the winter months he fished lobsters and scallops. For many years he taught Navigation and Marine Safety courses at NBCC. He also worked as the Marine Operations Manager for the New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Research team.

In 2002 he helped set up the Campobello Whale Rescue Team. With Canadian government support, Mac and other team members undertook whale rescue training at the Center for Coastal Studies in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mackie holds a Level 5 Whale Disentanglement certification, one of an elite group on the eastern seaboard, certified by NOAA to disentangle right whales in USA waters. He served as the Canadian Large Whale Disentanglement Coordinator at the Center for Coastal Studies. Mackie is one of only five expert whale disentanglers recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Mackie’s contributions to whale conservation have been widely recognized. He has received the Animal Action Award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and, on July 1, 2020, Mackie, and Joe Howlett, were each awarded the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross which “celebrates Canadians who have performed an exceptional deed or activity that brings honour to Canada.”

Robert Fitzsimmons, Whale Rescue Responder

It takes a special person to rescue whales and Robert Fitzsimmons has the touch. Robert is a Campobello native whose entire life has revolved around the sea. Since going to sea at 16, he has participated in various fisheries on seine, lobster and scallop boats. For a time, he supervised operations at a sardine cannery on Campobello Island, but then went back to fishing. He has owned and operated his own scallop boats. He is a fisherman’s fisherman and knows the local waters like few others.

Robert has served as a naturalist on whale watching boats since 2003. One day, about 15 years ago, his young granddaughter asked him why he wasn’t helping to save the whales.
Unable to come up with an acceptable response, he started to volunteer for the whale rescue team before becoming a staff whale rescuer with CWRT in 2018. To date Robert has worked on disentangling dozens of whales. He is usually in the bow of the rescue boat, wielding the specialized knives used to cut the whale free. He wouldn’t trade that feeling, when making the final cut and the whale swims away gear free, for anything.

When not out on the water, Robert can often be found caring for feral cats, for Cat Rescue Maritimes (CARMA,) together with his wife Nora, taking care of their horse Gracie, or taking in events at the Masonic lodge, of which he has been a member for 33 years.

Randy Russell, Whale Rescue Research Technician

Originally from St. Andrews, NB, Randy joined CWI’s Campobello Whale Rescue Team in 2024 as a Whale Rescue and Research Technician.

Over the past 18 years, Randy has spent as much time as possible on the water (well over 18,000 hours), starting as a whale watch tour guide and then moving on to become a whale watch Zodiac captain. He has a deep love and passion for the ocean, which gradually crept into his art (Randy holds a certificate in Fine Craftsman Design and is currently working on photography and wood carving projects) and eventually became the defining force in his life.

After witnessing, firsthand, the detrimental effects that plastic and rope have had on the marine environment and the majestic whales that live within it, Randy became inspired to raise awareness and educate others about the threats that our oceans face. He hopes to continue to work towards making the oceans a better place for whales through his work at CWI and CWRT.

Delphine Durette-Morin, Associate Scientist

As an Associate Scientist at CWI, Delphine is working in our habitat stewardship and whale disentanglement programs. She is also leading the development of our educational outreach materials for use in schools and universities throughout North America. 

Delphine holds an MSc in Oceanography from Dalhousie University where she also received her combined BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography. Her work measured the distribution of North Atlantic right whales using passive acoustic monitoring and optimized acoustic glider survey plans for fisheries management in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Her prior research focused on the feasibility of using acoustic monitoring to determine  variability of North Atlantic right whale habitat use. 

Before taking up her current position, Delphine worked as a research assistant for the Canadian Whale Institute and for the Whale, Fish, and Particle Lab at Dalhousie University. She also served as a research assistant with The Humpback Whale Institution (Instituto Baleia Jubarte), in Caravelas, Bahia, Brazil.

Delphine has presented at and participated in many conferences and fora devoted to North Atlantic right whale conservation and research. She is frequently interviewed by the media, in both English and French, regarding her work on whales. 

She has spent significant time in the air and on the water conducting research on large whales. Her current research interests include acoustic communication, marine mammal ecology and conservation, science communication and public outreach.

Pauline Alexander-Beckwith, Administrative Assistant

Born and raised on Campobello Island, Pauline grew up with an appreciation for the environment of the Bay of Fundy and everything that thrives in it. Her family was active in purse seining and was among the first to farm salmon in the waters around Campobello.
Pauline started work with the Canadian Whale Institute in May 2019 as the administrative assistant and manages the office in Welshpool.

Pauline studied business and technology at New Brunswick Community College. When not working at CWI, Pauline is outdoors tending her bee hives, chickens and vegetable gardens or working with Cat Rescue Maritimes (CARMA,) an organization that she introduced to Campobello Island.

Natasha Hynes, Research Associate

Natasha began working with the Canadian Whale Institute in 2020 to assist with mariner outreach initiatives to promote the healthy coexistence of vessels and right whales in Atlantic Canada. Today, as the Research Associate at the Canadian Whale Institute, Natasha works on various outreach activities and data collection efforts, as well as oversees the content on our social media channels and fosters a community of marine stewards online.

Natasha holds a BSc from Dalhousie University with a major in Marine Biology and a minor in French language. She completed an MSc in Biology at the University of New Brunswick, where she investigated the use of a glider-mounted shadowgraph camera for monitoring North Atlantic right whale prey fields. She is a zooplankton taxonomist with expertise in Atlantic Canadian environments.

Natasha enjoys diving, surfing, and collecting algae around Atlantic Canada. Her research interests include predator-prey interactions and influences, elasmobranch ecology, and science communication.

Brenna A. (McLeod) Frasier, Educator

Brenna is the coordinator of the Marine Mammal Summer Camp and is currently a research associate with the Frasier Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Evolution (Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS) where she co-manages the right whale DNA DatabankShe received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Anthropology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She then went on to establish an environmental contracting company providing expertise in land use, environmental impact assessment, and management of waste products for the oil and gas industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2008, she completed her PhD in the Environment and Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University where she focused on the analysis of ancient DNA of the North Atlantic right and bowhead whales. She uses the assessment of ancient DNA of a variety of marine mammals in order to better understand species history and recovery. She has also completed several projects creating research materials and field guides to assist in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) studies on marine mammals in the Canadian Arctic. 

In her free time, Brenna likes  to get outdoors as much as possible with her family and their dog.

Connect with Brenna on LinkedIn here.

Kim Davies, Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Kim Davies is an assistant professor at the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus. She holds a BSc in biology from the University of Victoria and a PhD in Oceanography from Dalhousie University. Kim’s work with right whales began in 2007 with her studies on the oceanographic processes that influence right whale habitat use in Canadian waters. In 2014, she co-created the Whales, Habitat and Listening experiment which is a glider research program focused on augmenting our understanding of whales and their relationship with their habitat. Another goal of this program is to improve adaptive management strategies for the conservation of whales through real-time monitoring using the gliders. Kim is a long-time collaborator of the Canadian Whale Institute and officially joined the team as associate research scientist in 2021.

Nick Hawkins, Associate Filmmaker/Cinematographer

With a background in biology, Nick works as a wildlife cameraman specializing in aerial, underwater, and boat-based ocean filming. He owns and operate the industry's top cameras, drones, gimbals and underwater equipment and has traveled extensively throughout the world to photograph and film our planets most iconic wildlife. 

Nick is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, a group of leading wildlife, nature and culture photographers and videographers who have each demonstrated a deep commitment to conservation efforts around the globe. He was a 2020 National Geographic Explorer and was inducted as a member of the Royal Canadian Geographic society in 2021. His ultimate goal, whether through photography or film, is to bring unique stories of the natural world to audiences worldwide while promoting the conservation of the species and ecosystems upon which we all rely.

Check out his web site to see some of his incredible work. You can also see Nick at work in Last of the Right Whales.

Michael J. Moore, Associate Research Scientist

Michael has a veterinary degree from the University of Cambridge in the UK, and a PhD from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA. He has been based at WHOI in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, since 1986 where he is now a Senior Scientist. He is Director of the WHOI Marine Mammal Center and provides veterinary support to the Marine Mammal Rescue and Research Division of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, supporting their work with stranded marine mammals on Cape Cod. His research encompasses the forensic analysis of marine mammal mortalities, especially in regard to the accurate diagnosis of perceived human impacts and the prevalence of zoonotic agents, large whale health assessment at sea using unmanned aerial systems, the interaction of natural and man-made impacts on fish and marine mammal stocks, development of systems to enhance medical intervention with large whales, and the pathophysiology of marine mammal diving. He serves on the Boards of SR3 and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Check out his recent book and connect with Michael on LinkedIn here.

Angelia S.M. Vanderlaan, Associate Research Scientist

Angelia received a Bachelor of Science Co-op in Marine Biology and Statistics (Combined Honours) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her honours research project focused on analysing and characterising some of the sounds produced by the endangered right whale in the Bay of Fundy; a first step in assessing the feasibility of a passive acoustic monitoring program. Angelia received her Master of Science in Statistics from the University of Victoria in 2004. In 2010, Angelia completed her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Dalhousie University where her research quantified the risk to North Atlantic right whales from ocean-going vessels and fishing gear. This research was used in the design and justification for conservation initiatives to protect right whale from vessel strikes in Canadian waters. In recognition of the conservation efforts of her research, she was awarded the William T. Hornaday Conservation Award from the American Society of Mammalogists as well as a Canadian Whale Institute Award. Angelia has recently continued her right whale research as a Lindy S. Johnson Fellow where her research focused on evaluating the efficacy of the voluntary Area To Be Avoided by determining the compliance of vessel past the initial year of implementation and the affect of a letter-writing campaign on non-compliant vessels. Angelia was also a Research Associate at the Large Pelagics Research Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst where her research focused on integrating sonar and aerial results in support of fishery-independent surveys of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna. Currently, Angelia works as a cetacean biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Danielle Dion, Canadian Whale Institute Ambassador

Danielle is the senior naturalist with Quoddy Link Marine, a whale watching company based in St. Andrews, NB. She is originally from Southern Ontario and graduated from the University of Guelph with an honours degree in marine biology. After some field courses at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, she fell in love with the Bay of Fundy and eventually returned in 2002 to begin working with Quoddy Link and sharing her marine knowledge with the whale watchers. With Quoddy Link, she gets to share her passion for whales with her passengers, as well as collect data on North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales for the New England Aquarium and the Centre for Coastal Studies, respectively.

Everyday she is on the water, the boat will pass by Campobello Island, giving her the perfect opportunity to talk to her passengers about the Campobello Whale Rescue Team and the struggles these whales face based on the reality of living in an urban ocean.

“I love my job and I feel it’s a privilege to introduce my passengers to the wonders of the Bay of Fundy and to get to be the link between the public and the research done by scientists in both Canada and the United States. Sharing my knowledge and passion for the whales of Fundy and to be an Ambassador for the Campobello Whale Rescue Team and the Canadian Whale Institute is simply incredible and a dream come true.”