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About The Organization

The Vancouver Aquarium is a recognized leader in connecting people to our natural world, and a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through displayand communication, public programs and education, research and direct action. We have been self-supporting since we opened in 1956.

About the Vancouver Aquarium

What’s Important To Us

We have been dedicated to conservation, research and education from the beginning. This can be seen through the many conservation and research programs that we operate, as well as through our accreditations, awards and involvement in international conservation and research projects.



We encourage the public to become actively involved in conservation by participating in our conservation-focused programs, which include: Ocean Wise; the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre; our Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program; the Marine Protected Areas; Killer Whale Adoption Program; and annual population surveys.
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We believe that it’s important to encourage conscious decisions that help protect our oceans from an early age. From Aqua Clubs and the AquaVan program to field trips and lesson plans for learning at the Aquarium, we encourage active learning both at the facility as well as in schools and community.
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The Vancouver Aquarium has a long history of research on marine life. Since 1956, Vancouver Aquarium researchers have been conducting original studies in the wild and on-site in order to advance knowledge and provide scientific information to ignite environmental conservation initiatives.
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Our Experts

The Vancouver Aquarium is recognized worldwide for its expertise and contribution to the scientific community, thanks to the many researchers and specialists that are a part of our team.

Dr. John Nightingale
President and CEO

For 24 years, Dr. Nightingale has led one of the world’s premier aquariums. Using his broad professional background in aquatic sciences, Dr. Nightingale specializes in strategies to engage millions of people in being interested in ocean and aquatic life – all in pursuit of conservation. The world’s oceans and freshwater systems are the heart, veins and arteries of the earth’s physiology. Their role in sustaining life and our planet cannot be under estimated. As a professional biologist and public communicator, Dr. Nightingale has been responsible for the development and operation of some of the world’s best aquariums and public programs, and in this role, has harnessed these institutions to engage with the public in new and meaningful ways.

During his twenty four years at the Vancouver Aquarium, an initiative of Ocean Wise, he has guided the expansion of the Aquarium’s leadership in conservation, education and research while focusing operations on sustainability and solid fiscal performance. As a result, Ocean Wise is not only perhaps the “greenest” civic institution in Canada, it is the only one that is financially self-sufficient, operating without an annual subsidy from Government. Under John’s leadership, Ocean Wise has grown to a $40 million operation with over 500 staff and 1100+ volunteers, 1.1 million visiting in person, and 23 million digital visitors.

John Nightingale

Clint Wright
Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer

Clint has spent over thirty years working in aquariums and joined the Vancouver Aquarium in 1990. He has extensive experience in animal training and husbandry. Clint's technical expertise lies in aquatic animal management and he has overseen animal acquisition and transportation world-wide from killer whales to salt water crocodiles. He currently oversees and manages all aspects of animal management and care at the Aquarium, including the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Clint Wright

Dolf DeJong
Vice-President and General Manager

Dolf brings 20 years of facility operations, planning and programming experience to the General Manager position. Prior to assuming this role, he led the Aquarium’s Conservation and Education departments which connect people to the natural world and help them establish a conservation minded identity. Programs under his leadership included The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up®, Canada’s largest conservation cleanup, the Ocean Wise® sustainable seafood program and Ikaarvik, the Arctic Connections initiative. Dolf also supervised the AquaCamps, AquaVan and school programs, including the addition of a second teaching wet lab.

Through late 2015 and early 2016 Dolf was the Vancouver Aquarium management representative at the Oceanografic Aquarium in Valencia, Spain, while they established their new research and conservation programs. He currently oversees the daily operations of the Aquarium, including the animal care, visitor experience, exhibit development, digital communications and engineering staff.


James Bartram
Vice-President, Education

James Bartram oversees Vancouver Aquarium’s educational programming, which connects with 70,000 students each year through Aquarium visits, AquaVan, AquaCamps, AquaClubs, field trips, public outreach, summer group programs and online courses. The Aquarium’s education portal aims to connect people, young and old, to continuous learning through its conservation action programs and research studies.

James has long been a champion of experiential education and connecting to nature, having led the education department at the Canadian Wildlife Federation. He was the founder and the education director with The Parks Canada Palisades Stewardship Education Centre in Jasper, his passion ignited as an enthusiastic Scout and Outward Bound instructor.


Dr. Lance G. Barrett-Lennard
Senior Marine Mammal Scientist

Dr. Barrett-Lennard has a broad range of research experience in the field studies of marine mammals, with a particular focus on killer whales. He has been an active collaborator in the ongoing studies of the behavioural and population biology of killer whales in British Columbia and Alaska since 1984, and has also studied the species in Norway and the sub-Antarctic.

A molecular geneticist, Dr. Barrett-Lennard uses DNA analysis to resolve population identity, dispersal patterns, and mating systems. Some of his findings recently served as the basis for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada's listing of southern resident killer whales as an endangered population. Dr. Barrett-Lennard is co-chair of the Killer Whale Recovery Team convened by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Lance Barrette-Lennard

Dr. Martin Haulena DVM, MSc, Dipl. ACZM
Vancouver Aquarium Veterinarian 

Recognized world-wide for his high standards of veterinary care, Dr. Haulena is the Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinarian. Dr. Haulena graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1993.  He completed a clinical internship in aquatic animal medicine at Mystic Aquarium in 1996 and a Master’s degree in pathobiology from the University of Guelph in 1999.  He became a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine in 2007. Dr. Haulena was the Staff Veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA for nine years and has been the Staff Veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium for over five years.

Dr. Haulena's special interests are in the medical management of aquatic animals, particularly marine mammals, with emphasis on innovative diagnostic methods such as MRIs, endoscopy and sonography, developing safe anaesthetic protocols and improving surgical techniques. Veterinary students from around the world study aquatic animal medicine each year under the direction of Dr. Haulena. He serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre.

Dr. Haulena's professional affiliations include the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Wildlife Disease Association and the American Association of Zoological Veterinarians. He has authored over 30 scientific journal articles and book chapters.

Martin Haulena

Dr. Peter S. Ross
Ocean Pollution Research Program
Director & Senior Scientist

In his role as Director of the newly launched Ocean Pollution Research Program at Vancouver Aquarium, Dr. Peter Ross returns to the places he likes best: the islands, coastal waters and open ocean of Canada’s west coast, and the lab. As a research scientist with the Canadian government from 1996 until 2013, Dr. Ross worked with a team of pollution specialists spread across the country. He is an international expert in the area of ocean pollution, having published more than 120 scientific articles and book chapters.

In more than 25 years of marine pollution research, he pioneered new techniques to evaluate the effects of persistent pollutants on the health of marine mammals. He has led groundbreaking studies on the health of B.C.’s iconic killer whales, on the effects of flame retardants on beluga whales, on the presence of hydrocarbons in sea otters and their habitat, on trends in priority pollutants in harbour seals, on the impacts of currently used pesticides on the health of salmon, and on the identification of emerging pollutants in sentinel species.

Dr. Peter Ross

Eric Solomon
Director, Arctic Connections

Eric has more than 15 years of experience working in the field of science and environmental education and communication with museums, science centres and public aquariums in the U.S. and Canada. He has dedicated much of his career toward improving communication of complex science and environmental issues to public audiences.

After nearly five years as the Aquarium’s Vice President of Conservation, Research and Education, Eric's focus is now on development and implementation of integrated approaches to advancing the Aquarium's mission and strategic priorities. One significant priority for the Vancouver Aquarium is creating greater public awareness of, and engagement in, the important issues facing Canada's north. 

Eric holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Marine Ecology, and advanced graduate studies in Science Education. 

Eric Solomon

Ann-Marie Copping
Program Manager, Ocean Wise

Ann-Marie Copping joined the Ocean Wise team at the Vancouver Aquarium in July 2011.  As the program manager, Ann-Marie is responsible for strategic direction and annual planning, marketing strategy and overall program administration including financial stewardship. The Ocean Wise program works with restaurants, retailers and the supply chain of seafood in Canada with the largest focus on foodservice operators. Ocean Wise currently has over 530 partners in Canada, 4 staff members (in Toronto and Vancouver) but relies greatly on the resources of the Vancouver Aquarium to assist with marketing and consumer awareness. Ann-Marie’s background of business management and specifically foodservice purchasing and distribution has been an important addition to the Ocean Wise team ensuring the program balances between the business requirements and conservation values of the Vancouver Aquarium. Ann-Marie worked for 25 years in foodservices/resort supply chain management  negotiating and managing  purchasing agreements for North American wide independent and chain restaurants, hotels and resorts.   She has a degree from the University of British Columbia in French Literature and a Purchasing Management Association Designation. Ann-Marie is a Steering Committee member of the Conservation Alliance for Sustainable Seafood. She has also served as a Director of Kids Help Phone, a National Children’s Charity in Canada.

Ann-Marie Copping

Kate Le Souef
Program Manager, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup 

Kate Le Souef joined the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in 2014 as the tsunami debris cleanup coordinator. She coordinated remote cleanups of shorelines on Vancouver Island affected by debris from the Japanese tsunami, which required boats, helicopters and trucks to remove huge volumes of debris. Kate also visited Japan, where she learnt about the ongoing impacts of the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. This trip showed Kate that there is a human story behind every object on our shorelines, but that the everyday garbage generated by humans around the world is completely preventable.

Kate now manages the Shoreline Cleanup across Canada. The team of five across the country engages more than 50,000 registrants every year to take part in shoreline cleanups. The team continually reaches out to new partners to expand the reach of this program, including municipalities, parks agencies, community groups, schools and youth organisations.

Kate also has 5 years of experience as a consulting coastal engineer in Australia and Canada, as well as a Master of Science in Oceanography from UBC.


Our Media Team

We’re here to help you find the information and visual footage you’re looking for. For any media and communications requests or information, please contact a member of our media team.

Deana Lancaster
Communications Advisor
Phone: 604-659-3752


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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

The largest puffin colony has more than one million nests. 
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