Rowenna Gryba

PhD, ISGP (Statistics and Geography)

Thesis Topic

Integration of Indigenous knowledge and western science using a Bayesian approach for fully informed models


Dr. Marie Auger-Méthé, Dr. Greg Henry


BSc, Biological Oceanography, University of British Columbia
MSc, Geographic Information Science, Manchester Metropolitan University


Rowenna’s PhD is on developing methods to quantitatively include Indigenous Knowledge (IK) into animal movement and habitat models. To address this she is focusing on ringed seals, spotted seals and bearded seals and their behaviour and habitat use in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering Seas. Rowenna will be conducting IK interviews in Arctic communities in Alaska to document the vast IK that exists in this region. She will then use a Bayesian statistical framework to equally include the IK and satellite movement data for these species to identify behaviour, such as foraging and resting, and identify suitable habitat. Rowenna hopes that through these methods IK can be included into modeling approaches in a new and meaningful way providing more fully informed models and understanding of animal movement and habitat use.

Research interests

Bayesian statistics, Indigenous knowledge, Arctic, ice associated seals


North Pacific Research Board – Core Program
Marine Mammal Commission
Northern Scientific Training Program
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship
Dr. Jim McDonald Scholarship
France-Canada Research Fund
Lawrence Edward Hassell Graduate Field Research Award

Selected Publications

Hamilton CD, C Lydersen, J Aars, M Acquarone, T Atwood, A Baylis, M Biuw, AN Boltunov, EW Born, P Boveng, TM Brown, M Cameron, J Citta, J Crawford, R Dietz, J Elias, SH Ferguson, A Fisk, LP Folkow, … R Gryba, … KM Kovacs. 2022. Marine mammal hotspots across the circumpolar Arctic. Diversity and Distributions.

Auger‐Méthé M, K Newman, D Cole, F Empacher, R Gryba, AA King, V Leos‐Barajas, J Mills Flemming, A Nielsen, G Petris, and L Thomas. 2021. A guide to state–space modeling of ecological time series. Ecological Monographs.

Gryba R, HP Huntington, AL Von Duyke, B Adams, B Frantz, J Gatten, Q Harcharek, H Olemaun, R Sarren, J Skin, GHR Henry, and M Auger-Méthé. 2021. Indigenous Knowledge of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus), ringed seal (Pusa hispida), and spotted seal (Phoca largha) behaviour and habitat use near Utqiaġvik, Alaska, USA. Arctic Science.

Gryba RD, FK Wiese, BP Kelly, AL Von Duyke, RS Pickart, DA Stockwell. 2019. Inferring foraging locations and water masses preferred by spotted seals Phoca largha and bearded seals Erignathus barbatus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 631:209-224

Williams R, E Ashe, K Gaut, R Gryba, JE Moore, E Rexstad, D Sandilands, J Steventon, RR Reeves. 2017. Animal Counting Toolkit: a practical guide to small-boat surveys for estimating abundance of coastal marine mammals. Endangered Species Research DOI:

Gregr EJ, Gryba R, Li MZ, Alidina H, Kostylev V, Hannah CG. 2016. A benthic habitat template for Pacific Canada’s continental shelf. Can. Tech. Rep. Hydrogr. Ocean Sci. 312: vii + 37 p

Hui TCY, R Gryba, EJ Gregr, AW Trites. 2015. Assessment of Competition between Fisheries and Steller Sea Lions in Alaska Based on Estimated Prey Biomass, Fisheries Removals and Predator Foraging Behaviour. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0123786

Greg EJ, R Gryba, MC James, L Brotz, SJ Thornton. 2015. Information relevant to the identification of critical habitat for Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) in Canadian Pacific waters. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2015/079. vii + 32p.

Flinn RD*, EJ Gregr, RI Perry. 2002. Diets of fin, sei and sperm whales in British Columbia: An analysis of commercial whaling records, 1963-1967. Marine Mammal Science 18(3):663-679

Nichol LM, EJ Gregr, R Flinn*, JKB Ford, R Gurney, L Michaluk, A Peacock. British Columbia commercial whaling catch data 1908 to 1967: A detailed description of the BC Historic Whaling Database. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences No. 2396

*previously published R. Flinn



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Rowenna Gryba

Contact Information


Twitter: @RowennaGryba