Job Title: Assistant Professor, University of Alberta; Canada Research Chair, Aquatic Global Change Ecology and Conservation
Gliding through the Pacific Ocean on a boat through the inky black night, then-14-year-old Stephanie Green was captivated. Millions of tiny underwater creatures came to life, filling the sea with greenish yellow lights.
“It’s like shooting stars, but you’re creating it by going through it with your boat. It’s like you’re in Star Trek adjust-ing to warp nine,” says Green.
That experience on a field trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, now a University of Alberta research facility, drew Green to her career as a marine biologist. Now, she co-leads a team of scientists investigating the health of the North Saskatchewan River.
Green thinks of her role as an “ecological detective.” She and her team study how land use such as farming, industry and urbanization impact the river’s biodiversity and water quality.
“Big projects like this are re-ally helpful for learning how the system has changed and what causes major impacts,” she says.
Green is drawn to the river, even in her time off, cycling and running on the trails and kayaking on the water. She’s optimistic for the future of the water body that shapes Edmonton’s iconic river valley.
“People have this perception of it as a polluted river, and there is a legacy of that happening. But what it is now, and what it can be, might not match up with people’s preconceived notions.”