Octopus Marine Ecology Centre






      Emeritus Director:  Dr. Bill Austin  

Dr. Bill Austin is a marine biologist trained at Stanford University in the U.S. but living and working in British Columbia for the past 30 years. He is executive director of the Marine Ecology Centre, a non profit aquarium dedicated to fostering education, awareness and stewardship of our marine environment.

Prior to developing the Centre, Dr. Austin taught at Simon Fraser University, Bamfield Marine Centre and the Vancouver Aquarium. Dr. Austin has published several books and numerous articles on marine life and habitats in British Columbia. His professional interest, at present, is in sponges including the recently described ancient sponge reefs known only from B.C. waters

Emeritus Educator: Paula Romagosa

Paula,  our Marine Educator,  graduated  from UVic with a Biology degree. She taught classes,  provided biological information  to visitors,  maintained the aquaria and worked with volunteers in MEC programs.  She also helps Bill Austin in his research projects with sponges, as well as accounting and promotional matters.

      Plus Volunteers

The Centre has again been fortunate to obtain the support of a number of volunteers. Thesed include Co-op students from UVic, high school students, and several who continued on a volunteer basis when their paid positions ended.

Volunteers include: Tawny Nye, Ashley Park, Madeline Southern, Mike Macpherson, Tom McColm, Sara-Anne Bosman, Emma Brownlee, Jenny Birnbaum, Ashley Park, Ashley Stocks, Natasha Ewig,   John Austin,  Roger Southern, Sasha Farquhaar, Jonathan Grant, Kim Kyba, Kelly Nordin, Bryce Kendrick, and many more.

Our board of directors were also volunteers and have all put in much effort to make the Centre fulfill its mandate. They were: Derek Ashurst, Judy Ashurst,  Kerrie Talbot,  Rick Hudson, Dave Hutchinson, Jim Johnson, Rhonda Reidy, Sue Stanniforth, and Bryce Kendric . : John Harper, Carol Lalli, John Scull, Pam Williams, Michael Anderson, Beth Stewart, Bob Holden, John Roe, Eric Marshall,  John Wheelock, and Cheri Ayers.

Short Term Employees

The Marine Ecology Centre was successful in obtaining funding from Human Resources Development Canada for an Education Assistant during the summer. These have included Danielle Wilson, Paula Romagosa, Rene Cenerini, Chelsea Eby, Robyn Luff, Emily McGiffin, Eve Robinson, Alana Scruton,  and Pauline Landry.

We also received funding from the BC E-team to hire two Eco-ed youths. One a Marine Education Webmaster, Greg Bate who worked on our web site.  Sean Aldcroft held the position as a Marine Education Interpreter. He went through the Ministry of Education learning outcomes for grades 1 through 12, and listed those which are addressed by each or the MES education programs. This allows teachers to see the direct relevance of our programs to classroom subject areas at each grade level. Sean also updated and upgraded our 8 year old hypercard computer program on rocky shore life to put on our web site in living colour. 

The Marine Centre also sponsored three youths under the BC Youth Community Action Program which awards tuition credits for work performed. The youths, Madeline Southern, Sean Aldcroft and Graham Fielding worked in the store and in the aquarium. Employees during a Juvenile Chinook Habitat Project were Jackie Hendrix, David Tattam, Margaret Walker, and Barbara Benoit.

    Other Staff Work

Survey of habitats, potential food, and remediation requirements in juvenile chinook nursery areas of the Cowichan Estuary. Also two murals painted by coop students.
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         Co-op Student Report

Report on grab samples conducted at 2 locations by Bill Austin and Coop student Renee Cenerini
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