CHONe Student Feature: Beatrice Proudfoot, MSc Candidate
Department of Geography, Memorial University

Beatrice Proudfoot is the recipient of the 2018 Esri Canada GIS Scholarship for Memorial University. To qualify for this scholarship, students must have completed a significant project using Esri technology.

Beatrice uses this technology for her master’s research and work on CHONe Project 1.2.5 (Fine-scale MPA mapping: Assessing the application of Landscape Ecology concepts for improved environmental monitoring design and management of MPAs). She uses high resolution multibeam data and underwater video and image based analysis to explore how elements of landscape ecology, such as habitat fragmentation and connectivity, can be applied to benthic environments to better understand how landscape pattern analysis can be incorporated into marine conservation planning.

Beatrice Proudfoot accepts award from supervisor Rodolphe Devillers

Esri Technology used for research in Newman Sound, NL

“This research relies on Esri ArcGIS applications to produce a benthic habitat map of Newman Sound, a coastal fjord in Eastern Newfoundland that has recently been identified as a special marine area due to its high diversity and abundance of ecologically unique areas,” said Beatrice. “By measuring habitat patch shape, size and connectivity using functions and tools available in ArcGIS, the spatial configuration of the mapped seabed can be quantified at the habitat patch-level – and this information can be used to inform conservation planning.”

Esri technology is used during all stages of Beatrice’s project. “From habitat mapping through to visualizing and sharing the final results of conservation planning analyses, this research requires the powerful tools and applications available from Esri’s ArcGIS software,” she explained.

From mapping benthic habitats to informing conservation and management initiatives

Beatrice is interested in exploring how seascape ecology research can inform conservation and management initiatives.

“Adequately protecting coastal areas requires knowledge of the habitats and ecosystems that comprise them. However, it can be difficult to assess impacts and monitor change without baseline information regarding the composition and extent of coastal habitats and ecosystems. As a result, benthic habitat and substrate maps have become central to coastal conservation and management activities,” said Beatrice.

“Mapping benthic habitats allows us to better understand the seabed habitats that are currently protected, what is left to protect and how spatial management tools such as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can be designed and/or adapted to better represent regional habitats and biodiversity.”

Appreciative of the support 

Beatrice is very grateful to receive this award and for the continued support of her supervisors, Rodolphe Devillers (MUN) and Craig Brown (NSCC), and fellow lab mates.

Congratulations from the CHONe team, Beatrice!