Interviews with Marine Scientists!
Bay Pipefish Project
|Ramona de Graaf
Ramona de Graaf
is a Marine Biologist who is currently doing her graduate work
at the University of British Columbia with Bay Pipefish. After
working with Ramona in the field for two days, we sat down
for an interview with her to find out more about her project
and her thoughts on being a scientist.
Ramona is interested in determining the degree in which marine fishes migrate
and the extent of their habitat and is currently trying to answer this
question for a specific species, Bay Pipefish (Syngnathus griseolineatus).
In order to get her data, Ramona monitors the populations from several
sites that contain Pipefish habitats, eelgrass beds. Ramona, with the help
of field assistants such as ourselves, catches the Pipefish using seining
techniques (a type of fishing using seining nets) and then collects data
and tags the fish. The data collected includes the fish’s length,
colour, sex and DNA samples from a small clipping of the dorsal fin. With
the DNA samples Ramona then compares the genetics of different populations
to determine how closely they are related and from this will be able hypothesize
whether or not Pipefish move between different populations (do pipefish
from one area reproduce with fish from another area).
Males give ‘birth’ to
Most abundant fish in
Close relative to the
Distributed from Alaska
do you have?
Previously a paralegal,
training to become a lawyer
Late 20s went back to school to study Biology and received an Honours degree
in Science at Uvic
Was a whale researcher
Worked for various NGOs in Marine Conservation
Has lab experience and boating skills
do you require for your work?
A lot of patience
Outdoor skill- field camping
People skills and communication skills
Boating and marine navigation
the best part of the job?
Seeing and interacting with the animals
The discovery, wonder, mystery of science
Sharing her work with family – has had many family members work with
her in the field
the worst part of the job?
Lack of funding
Competition between researchers
Do you have
any advice for students?
Coop is a great way to get experience
Study hard but don’t forget to have fun
Go for it
You’re never too old
Get involved with Marine Conservation!
caught by the seine
by Shani Danzig and Maria
interns at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
back to Interviews page