Sarah co-founded the Canadian Whale Institute in 1997 and is currently Chair of the Board of Directors. Her introduction to the world of whales began with the South Atlantic right whale in Patagonia, Argentina in 1991. Sarah experienced firsthand the majesty of these animals and the fragility of their habitat. After serving on the Board of Ocean Alliance, she felt the time was right to turn her attention to the North Atlantic right whale. Upon learning about the threats to these endangered whales, she decided to dedicate her time and resources to the Canadian Whale Institute and its efforts to help right whale population recovery in the North Atlantic.
Tim is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in the Department of Biology and the Forensic Science Program. He has been conducting genetic analyses on the North Atlantic right whale since 1999, when he began his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Brad White (then at McMaster University, now at Trent University). His Ph.D. focused on combining photo-identification and genetic data to better understand the reproductive biology of right whales. This work has led to several new insights into patterns of reproductive success in this species, as well as to a better understanding of the factors influencing reproductive performance. This work is ongoing, and Tim and Brad are currently working together to continue the genetic analysis of the North Atlantic right whale. In addition to his work on right whales, Tim also conducts genetic analyses of several other whale species (including the St. Lawrence beluga, and eastern North Pacific gray whales), and is involved in several other projects that focus on obtaining better understanding of the reproductive biology of small populations and/or endangered species. Tim also teaches at Saint Mary’s University and is a co-coordinator of the Marine Mammal Summer Camp. More information can be found at his website www.frasierlab.ca.
Sharon is a Toronto-based tax lawyer. After practicing law for many years with a large national law firm, she established and is principal of Bennett Tax Law Professional Corporation. Sharon’s law practice focuses on the tax and organizational needs of private companies, individuals, non-profit organizations and charities. Sharon grew up in Lachine, Quebec, obtained her BA (Summa Cum Laude) at Concordia University, pursued graduate studies in political philosophy at Dalhousie University, and attended law school at Osgoode Hall, York University. In addition to urban passions for great food, the ballet and the theatre, Sharon is an avid traveler, camper, hiker and cyclist, and her enthusiasm for the marine environment was awakened while living on Canada’s east coast.
Jean-Francois is a former science teacher who lives along the Baie de Chaleur on the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec. Sightings of right whales gathered along that coast since the mid 1990s have captured his interest. Jean-Francois has actively participated with dedicated right whale research efforts in the area, acted as liaison with local whale watch operators and other research groups to collect right whale sightings. He is particularly interested in the protection of right whales and public awareness of their presence in the vast inland sea of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.