Arieanna Balbar

phd Candidate

Current research

abalbar_website

Countries worldwide have pledged to protect 10-30% of their national waters by 2030. For these MPAs to provide the ecological benefits intended, their placement and configuration must be carefully considered. Too small? Fish and animals will spend too much of their time in unprotected water. Too far apart? Each marine protected area will be isolated from one another. To prevent these shortcomings, I study when and how to account for habitat and species linkages between protected areas, often referred to as marine ecological connectivity.

For my PhD, I am investigating the inclusion of connectivity as a criterion in the design of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Spoiler alert: Only 11% of 746 MPAs that I reviewed in the first chapter of my thesis included connectivity in their design (Balbar and Metaxas, 2019). This disconnect may be due to the complex methods used and outputs produced when measuring connectivity.

For the rest of my thesis, I am considering the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, as a case study for measuring connectivity in a way that can be applied to the design of MPAs. With a focus on coastal kelp bed ecosystems (ecologically and economically important biogenic habitats), I will test and compare priority areas selected using different measurement methods and metrics. My goal is to improve the inclusion of connectivity in the design of the next era of MPAs.

This research is part of the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe), supported by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

Education

Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Department of Oceanography
Ph.D. Candidate (Transfer from M.Sc.)
September 2016 – present

University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
Department of Integrative Biology
B.Sc. Honours in Marine and Freshwater Biology, Minor in Mathematical Science
September 2012 – April 2016

Scholarships and Awards

2019 – President’s Award, Dalhousie University

2019 – Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS) – Doctoral, Dalhousie University

2019 – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGS D), Dalhousie University

2018 – Third place oral presentation, 4th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity

2017 – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Masters (CGS M), Dalhousie University

2017 – Best Master’s talk, Conference for Dalhousie Oceanography Graduate Students

2016 – Faculty of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarship, Dalhousie University

2016 – Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS) – Masters, Dalhousie University

2016 – Gaskin Medal in Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Guelph

2015 – Mary Beverley-Burton Travel Scholarship, University of Guelph

2014-2015 – Keith Ronald Undergraduate Scholarship, University of Guelph

2012-2015 – O. Temple Sloan Jr. Founders Scholarship, Car Quest

2012 – University of Guelph Entrance Scholarship, University of Guelph

publications

Peer-reviewed

Daigle, R.M., Metaxas, A., Balbar, A.C., McGowan, J., Treml, E.A., Kuempel, C.D., Possingham, H.P., Beger, M., 2020. Operationalizing ecological connectivity in spatial conservation planning with Marxan Connect. Methods Ecol. Evol. 185. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13349

Balbar, A.C., Metaxas, A., 2019. The current application of ecological connectivity in the design of marine protected areas. Global Ecology and Conservation 17, e00569. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00569

Non-peer-reviewed

Balbar, A.C, Daigle, R.M., Heaslip, S.G., Jeffery, N.W., Proudfoot, B., Robb, C.K., Rubidge, E. and Stanley R. 2020. Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Representation, Replication, and Connectivity in Marine Conservation Networks. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2020/050. vii + 57 p. http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2020/mpo-dfo/fs70-5/Fs70-5-2020-050-eng.pdf

Balbar, A. C., and Metaxas, A. 2019. Analysis of seabed video imagery: Shallow water dive survey analysis and Drop camera survey video analysis for kelp distribution (DFO technical report, internal)

Balbar, A. C., and Metaxas, A. 2018. Analysis of seabed video imagery: Review video and conduct analyses for sites along the coast of Cape Breton and the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. (DFO technical report, internal)

Presentations

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2020. Simple metrics of ecological connectivity for application to the design of marine protected areas. Oral presentation. (Ocean Sciences Meeting).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2020. Simple metrics of ecological connectivity for application to the design of marine protected areas. Oral presentation. (Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2019. Kelp beds on the Eastern Shore. Invited oral presentation. (Eastern Shore Islands Area of Interest Advisory Committee Meeting).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2018. Simple metrics of population connectivity in kelp forests along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. Poster presentation. (Canadian Healthy Oceans Network meeting).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2018. 1.1.3 Population connectivity in designing networks of MPAs in practice. Oral presentation. (Canadian Healthy Oceans Network meeting).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A.2018. Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia: Classification of benthic habitats – 2007. Invited oral presentation. (Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Eastern Shore Islands Area of Interest Ecological and Biological Overview).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2018. The use of population connectivity in the design of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Oral presentation. (World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Montreal, Canada; 3rd prize, Best Student Oral Presentation).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2018. The use of population connectivity in the design of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Oral presentation. (Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Congress, Halifax, Canada).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2017. The use of population connectivity in the design of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Poster presentation. (Canadian Healthy Oceans Network meeting).

Balbar, A.C., and Metaxas, A. 2017. Population connectivity in marine protected area (MPA) network design. Oral presentation. (Conference of Dalhousie Oceanography Graduate Students; Best Master’s Oral Presentation).

Other relevant activites

Editor-in-chief  Current Tides Magazine: Volume 5, Dalhousie University (2020-2021)

Event Organizer Conference for Dalhousie Oceanography Graduate Students, Dalhousie University (2018)        

Teaching Assistant  Principles of Biology Part I and II (BIOL 1010 & 1011), Department of Biology, Dalhousie University (2018-2019)

Teaching Assistant Conversations of Ocean Scientists (OCEA 1000), Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University (2016 – 2018)  

Marker Vertebrate Evolution (BIOL 3326), Department of Biology, Dalhousie University (2016)

Contact Information

Twitter: @arieannabalbar
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arieanna-balbar/
Email: abalbar at dal.ca