CHONe Student Feature: Emma Cooke, MSc Candidate

Today we’re featuring Emma Cooke, MSc Candidate, Memorial University. Emma is studying the ability to predict adult Atlantic cod abundance from juvenile Atlantic cod abundance in Newfoundland. She is also looking at how different factors such as temperature, habitat type, and spatial scale influence the predictive relationship.

To learn more about Emma and her research, visit her CHONe profile and read the Q&A below.

Q&A with Emma

Q1: Why is your research important/making a difference?

A1: The Newfoundland cod moratorium, expected to only last 2 years, is now 25 years old and the cod stocks still have not fully recovered. Because of the ecological, cultural, and economic value of the cod stocks, being able to predict future cod populations would be extremely useful. If we are able to make predictions about cod populations, we can plan for socio-economic cost of bad years, reduce monitoring costs, and also know more about how climate change might affect our fish populations.

Q2: Please tell us about your most memorable experience throughout your program of study or career. 

A2: One of my most memorable experiences was during field work last summer in Trinity Bay in Newfoundland. We captured over 7000 baby cod in one seine net haul at a site filled with eelgrass. Since part of my project is looking at the influence of eelgrass cover on cod abundance, this was pretty amazing. Moments like this are great because they remind me how my research can make a difference.

Q3: Why did you choose to get involved in the science field? 

A3: I’ve always loved spending time in nature, specifically in the water, so studying the environment was an easy decision I made at a very young age. I’ve been amazed by the ocean for as long as I can remember, but my interest in studying fish came after spending a summer at the Queen’s University Biology Station catching fish and collecting data for my undergraduate thesis, and doing a scuba diving field course in the Bahamas.

The photo below was taken during a field course in Eleuthera in The Bahamas.