Arieanna Balbar

M.Sc. Candidate

Current research

My research focuses on assessing the use of population connectivity in the design of abalbar_website Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). I will determine what the benefits are and whether there are any trade-offs when including population connectivity in the design process. I will use the spatial management tool, Marxan, to critically evaluate the efficiency of current reserve designs with Canadian test cases. I will also be working with the designers of the program to expand the algorithm to include population connectivity. This project is in collaboration with the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe). My research will be widely applicable to MPA design worldwide, as current criteria are widely focused on economic and social goals. Evidence supporting the use of ecological criteria will aid in the shift towards selection of MPA networks in ecologically unique and productive areas (e.g. fisheries and coastal areas).


Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Department of Oceanography
September 2016 – present

University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
Department of Integrative Biology
B.Sc. Honours in Marine and Freshwater Biology, Minor in Mathematical Science
September 2012 – April 2016

Scholarships and Awards

Graduate Entrance Scholarship (Dalhousie University) – June 2016
Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (Dalhousie University) – April 2016
Gaskin Medal in Marine in Freshwater Biology (University of Guelph) – May 2016
Keith Ronald Undergraduate Scholarship (University of Guelph) – November 2014, 2015
Mary Beverley Burton Travel Scholarship (University of Guelph) – March 2015
O.T.S. Jr. Founders Scholarship (Car Quest) – September 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship (University of Guelph) – September 2012

Work and Volunteer Experience

Work Study Student (Department of Integrative Biology), University of Guelph
September 2015- April 2016

Summer Research Assistant (Department of Integrative Biology), University of Guelph
May 2015 – August 2015

Summer Research Assistant (Department of Plant Agriculture), University of Guelph
May – August 2013, 2014

President (Marine and Freshwater Biology Society), University of Guelph
May 2015 – April 2016