Our Team

Arjan van Asselt

Arjan van Asselt

Director

After spending summers on Galiano Island for eight years, Arjan moved here and made it his permanent residence. Before retiring and relocating, he was an educator in the Kootenays for 30 years, working with all ages from kindergarten to older adults. He graduated with a Bachelors of Education from the University of Calgary focusing on teaching science and has a Masters in Leadership and Administration from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

Through IMERSS, Arjan has assisted with studies on diatoms and lichens. Current scientific interests include scanning electron microscope and light microscope imagery used for the study of diatom populations found on eelgrass. Other interests include photography and outdoor recreation of all sorts.

Most importantly, Arjan just became a grandparent for the first time and he is over the moon with joy!

Hannah Carpendale

Hannah Carpendale

Director

Hannah comes from an interdisciplinary background spanning social sciences, writing, artistic movement-based practices and coastal/forest ecology. Merging a deep love for nature with a passion for creative expression, she has collaborated on a number of interdisciplinary projects, including the ecological dance film Verge: Dancing a Scarred and Sacred Landscape and the site-specific performance Water Bodies, which explored dance as a medium to embody the flow of Vancouver’s buried creeks.

During her 7 years working with the Ancient Forest Alliance, Hannah helped to facilitate community-based outreach, communication and research around the conservation need for BC’s ancient forests. Her current role with the Southern Gulf Island-based Ecological Research Network involves creating materials for community engagement based on current and emerging forest and watershed research. In tandem with this work, Hannah is currently pursuing her Master’s in Data Visualization, focusing on the communication of forest carbon data to convey forests’ role in mitigating climate change. 

With IMERSS, Hannah looks forward to sharing tools and insights across disciplines, exploring ways to support the diverse communities of the Salish Sea bioregion.

Jeannine Georgeson

Jeannine Georgeson

Coordinator

Jeannine Georgeson is Coast Salish and Sahtu Dene. Galiano Island has been her home for most of her life. 

When her son Austin became involved with Biodiversity Galiano, his learning reminded her of what she was taught by her grandparents growing up. She was intrigued by the complementary aspects of Indigenous knowledge and ecology, so when she learned of IMERSS and the collaboration with Indigenous-led nonprofit Whiteswan Environmental, she was in awe! It folded together many of her values and interests—biodiversity, cultural importance of place and species, preservation of knowledge for future generations, action against climate change, community engagement and participation, and transboundary connections. It was these shared diverse interests that led to her engagement with IMERSS and other regional initiatives. 

Jeannine’s main focus with IMERSS is coordinating the Xetthecum ecocultural mapping pilot project. 

Jeannine lives with her partner Laurie and two of her three children, plus their cats Lilo and Stitch, Cronk the bearded dragon, Pug the Pug, some fish, as well as Austin’s collection of ants and a couple of spiders. Reading is one of her favorite hobbies. She feels most at peace when near the water, relaxing or exploring.

Elaine Humphrey

Elaine Humphrey

Director

While pursuing her PhD in Biological Oceanography, Elaine was introduced to Electron Microscopy. She now runs world leading electron microscopy labs at UVic which are open to every discipline.

The whole of the biological, chemical and physical world is of interest to Elaine, especially in how they overlap. She views the living world as an astonishing, wonderful place. One of her mandates is to get more science into elementary and middle schools and provide support to teachers—a large percentage of whom come from an arts background.

Elaine’s master’s degree included a benthic meiofaunal investigation of an intertidal zone, and it was an open research project for Galiano. Sorting and identifying organisms is an intensive undertaking, and she needed help. What better way than to make it a citizen science project through IMERSS?

For more information about Elaine’s career, see her interview in Women in Science.

Pam Janszen

Pam Janszen

Director

Raised in the Mt Baker foothills, and a full-time Saturna resident since 1988, nature has always been Pam’s home—and in particular, the Salish Sea Basin.  

Pam shares her home with her husband Harvey, cat Milo, and Maggie and Ruffy, their Cardigan Corgis. If not in the woods or in her lab, you’ll find her out in her flower beds. Her motto is, “why grow vegetables when you can surround yourself with flowers instead?”

Initially specializing in fungal inventories of Saturna’s Winter Cover Provincial Park & Ecological Reserve No. Fifteen, Pam was generously supported with grants from The Friends of Ecological Reserves. These projects ended when the land became part of Gulf Islands National Park. She also kept a loose running biological inventory of the rest of Saturna, which became more important when her BC Parks work ended.

Pam’s latest big adventure is a contract to produce a BC Slime Mould Field Guide for the Royal British Columbia Museum—which she finds very exciting and kind of scary too! It’s going to be a very busy nine months : )

To connect with Pam and view photos of her specimens, find her on the iNaturalist app.

Kris Krüg

Kris Krüg

Director

Kris Krüg is a professional freelance photographer specializing in people, events and portraiture. He’s made photographs of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and both George Bushes—as well as rockstars, entrepreneurs & athletes the world over.

Kris has been involved in some top notch world-changing organizations, including the United Nations, the Access To Media Education Society, TckTckTck, Reel Youth, W2 Community Arts, Northern Voice, and many others working in the areas of social justice, environment, and the media. He believes that using our gifts for positive change is where it’s at. The work he does for big events and corporate clients helps to fund his artistic & non-profit photography.

Kris has helped author two books:  Bit Torrent for Dummies and Killer Photography With Your iPhone, and also contributed by writing a chapter in Pathway: Critiques and Discourse In Olympic ResearchHe loves gardening, design, flying, sailing, and fishing, and lives with a big white sheepdog named Baby Jesus on Galiano Island, British Columbia.

Andrew Simon

Andrew Simon

Director

An ecologist with over a decade of experience studying British Columbia’s interior and coastal ecosystems, Andrew’s passions lie at the intersection of natural history, community-based research, and biodiversity data science. Beginning with an apprenticeship to lichenologist Trevor Goward, his studies have since progressed through a dynamic career in the environmental sciences, working with NGOs, First Nations, academe, industry and government. In 2020 he completed his MSc at the University of Victoria, with a focus on the implications of seasonal drought for plant and pollinator communities in the southern Gulf Islands. Beyond, Andrew continues to pursue his interests exploring the multidisciplinary, cross-cultural, and transboundary dimensions of biodiversity research in the Salish Sea.

Andrew is most well recognized for his commitments to community-based biodiversity research as the curator of the Biodiversity Galiano project, for which he was recently recognized with an Islands Trust Community Stewardship Award. Symbiosis is the notion that inspired his love of natural history to begin with, and it is this notion that continues to inspire his local and regional commitments to community science.

Mark Webber

Mark Webber

Director

From a youngster onwards, Mark has enjoyed natural history and lab work, beginning with botany, rocks and minerals, crystal growing and chemistry in his home lab. At age thirteen he began studying organic chemistry under Dr. G. Wright (U of T) in the professor’s private laboratory. Mentors in molecular biology at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), U of T (1970-1972) were Dr.’s A. Bernstein, A. Becker (d. 2015) and B. Rolfe (ANU).

Under the direction of Dr. Andrew Becker he investigated DNA repair of a bacterial virus. He was also supported to develop a novel synthesis of a new molecule, a fluorescein-methyl methacrylate polymer (Dr. Williams, U of T). In 1980, he aquired his Master’s in Anthropology, under supervision of Dr. C. Laughlin, where he investigated the interconnections between meditation, ritual, cognition, neurophysiology and endocrinology.

Mark is passionate about the importance—for all ages—of participating in field and lab research. He sees this as a way of learning how to methodically investigate our universe and to subsequently help understand deep principles of life, through which we can benefit all organisms. He finds researching life, and its interdependence, both profound and fun. Mark’s main line of research is identifying and cataloguing the diatoms of the Salish Sea.

Learn more on his website.