Fanny Couture


Thesis Topic

Connecting preys and specialized predator population dynamics: The case of Southern Resident Killer whales


Villy Christensen


BSc, University of Queensland
MSc James Cook University


After moving to Canada in June 2017, I started volunteering for Dr.Lance Barrett-Lennard at Marine Mammal Research Institute (Ocean Wise). After contacting Professor Villy Christensen, we all together developed a PhD research project aiming at assessing the historical levels of key prey salmon species from California to Alaska in order to estimate the carrying capacity of the area for killer whale populations along with potential competitive effects of other marine top predators. I find this project fascinating, as it combines marine fisheries, ecological modeling, and marine mammal ecology research, whilst potentially having greater implications for marine fisheries management and cetacean conservation.

Before arriving in Canada, I was working for two years as a coral biologist in a Marine Research Center based in Baa Atoll, Maldives Marine Savers Research Team.This position required intensive scuba-based ecological monitoring, along with leading different field-based research projects. My position also consisted in assisting the turtle biologist in our turtle rehabilitation centre, mainly regarding daily care, medical treatments, satellite tracking, and nests protection.

In 2014, I graduated from a Masters degree in Marine Ecology and Fisheries Biology at James Cook University (Townsville, Australia). During this time, I specialized in various tropical marine ecology topics, including research on fisheries, coral reefs ecosystems, and marine protected areas. The last year of my masters consisted in developing my own research project in Thailand on ‘Partitioning the influence of newly implemented Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and benthic structure on the coral reef fish assemblages of Koh Tao, Thailand’. If you are interested, you can read more about the project in Koh Tao Reef Status.

In 2011, I conducted my Honours project on ‘Quantifying the influence of depth and benthic structure on Moreton Bay marine fish communities using Baited Remote Underwater Video system’, and co-authored a CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) final report on ‘The Effects of zoning on key components of Moreton Bay Ecosystems’.

Apart from my academic years, I have been assisting in different research projects around the world, including with the Oceans Research Society (mainly focusing on great white shark and marine mammals population dynamics) and the national French Centre for Scientific Research (focusing on deep-sea corals ecology).


Ocean Leaders


  • Hein MY, Birtles AB, Chase TJ, Haskin E, Couture F, Willis R, Ripple K, Terry L, Beeden R, Willis BL, Marshall N, and Gardiner N (2019) Characterising the effectiveness of coral restoration programs: comparing fish response to restoration in four reef regions. (In review)
  • Hein MY, Couture F, Scott CM (2017) Ecotourism and coral reef restoration: Case studies from Thailand and the Maldives. In book: Coral Reefs: Tourism, Conservation and Management. Publisher: Routledge
  • Haywood MDE, Babcock RC, Pillans R, Burridge CY, Lawrence E, Donovan A, Cheers S, Dennis D, Dell Q, Couture F, Pendrey R, Darnell R (2011) Effects of zoning on key components of Moreton Bay Ecosystems. Final report to Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.


Contact Information


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