Advisory Group

Our Advisory Group are the following members:

Ben Skinner, GIS Specialist

art-PicBen has a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Victoria and an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the British Columbia Institute for Technology. Ben has a passion for the outdoors as can be shown from previous professional roles as a Landscaping Supervisor and an Environmental Stewardship Support Technician. At the Strait of Georgia Data Centre Ben combines his interests of environmental conservation and technology to bring data to life by creating maps. Moreover, he achieves everything behind the scenes that makes these products possible (i.e. spatial data management and transformation, programming, communications and outreach, and GIS systems administration). Ben is fond of adventures with family and friends.

GIS Specialist, Strait of Georgia Data Centre; BSc Geography (UVic); Adv Dip. GIS (BCIT)


Dr. Brian Riddell, Science Advisor Pacific Salmon Foundation


Prior to joining the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Brian worked for 30 years in research and management positions in Science Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans; where he co-authored Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon (2005), and provided science advice to the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Since joining the Pacific Salmon Foundation (2009), he established the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and the research network necessary to undertake this international project (

He has served as a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on Ocean Climate Change and Marine Biodiversity; he is currently a Canadian Commissioner to the Pacific Salmon Commission; was a member of the Province of BC’s Minister of Agriculture’s Advisory Council on Finfish Aquaculture (2018), and mostly joined the Board of Directors for the new Salish Sea Institute, Western Washington University.

In February, 2015; he was recognized nationally as one of “50 Notable Canadians” in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian flag.  Most recently, Brian has received the 2017 Murray Newman Award in Marine Conservation from the Vancouver Aquarium; and was inducted into the Fraser River Hall of Fame at the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster.

Science Advisor, Pacific Salmon Foundation; 1979 Ph.D., McGill University, Dept. Biology (Population biology/genetics); 1974 B.Sc., University of Guelph, Dept. Biology (Honours Marine Biology)

Dr. Isobel Pearsall, Project Lead

isobelIsobel Pearsall has a First Class degree in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University, a M.Sc. in Insect Pest Management from the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in Insect Ecology from the Department of Plant Science, UBC.  After her Ph.D. studies, she taught at San Diego State University, and was then a post-doctoral fellow in Ecosystem Management at the Pacific Biological Station, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Nanaimo. Since 1995, she has worked as a scientist on numerous contracts for government, non-profit organizations and private industr

Adjunct Professor; Project Lead/manager, Strait of Georgia Data Centre; Director, Marine Science Program at Pacific Salmon Foundation ; BSc Hons (Oxford University); MSc (Dalhousie); PhD (UBC)


Jake Dingwall, Research Assistant

Jake has been with the Pacific Salmon Foundation since 2021, coming on originally as a co-op student. He is a recent graduate of the University of Victoria where he obtained an honours degree in Earth and Ocean Science. Jake has experience in multiple natural resource industries, ranging from work in geological exploration to silviculture, where he planted over half a million trees. In 2022 Jake has taken on an all-rounder role, helping with data modelling and GIS, as well as wrangling a fish or two on the water once in a while. He hopes to continue to learn about salmon conservation with the wonderful team at PSF.

BSc (Hons.) Earth and Ocean Science (UVic)



Terry Curran, DFO (Retired), Geospatial Consultant

As a manager in the DFO Canadian Hydrographic Service at the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Terry developed expertise in project management, ISO-9000, marketing and geospatial data management technology (ISO-191xx and OSGeo standards, GeoNetwork/GeoServer, postGIS, etc). He served as the Industrial Liaison Officer for the Institute of Ocean Sciences from 1980 to 2005. He has led projects such as installation of winches aboard ships, designed and implemented audiovisual systems at IOS, guided developments in sea floor classification, and designed ocean instrumentation. Terry has programming expertise in xml, xquery, xslt, and python. He has a continuing interest in the application of underwater gliders to understand ocean processes. Sailing and hiking are passions.

B.A.Sc. EE (UBC); M.Sc. Physical Oceanography (UBC)



We have also been fortunate to have the assistance of a large number of scientists, database programmers and managers, who have provided advice along the way.