Esquimalt High student Amanda Noel has been spending her summer in the lab and in the field, working with University of Victoria professors Francis Juanes and David Stormer to study the Strait of Georgia’s fish population.
Earlier this year, Noel received a Hutton Fellowship, a $3,000 scholarship that also pairs recipients with a mentor to guide them through a summer-long, hands-on experience in fisheries science. The fellowship is granted by the American Fisheries Society and is rarely received by a Canadian – Noel being the only one this year.
Noel’s work is focussed on studying the food content of salmon and other fish in the Strait of Georgia, as well as what effect the rising temperatures in the strait will have on them.
As the first project Noel has worked on, she said that it took some time to get used to the equipment and working in such a professional setting, as her experience prior was limited to biology class.
“It’s really interesting to go out in the field, and be surrounded by people with so much experience,” Noel said. “And they’ve encouraged me to ask questions, they have time to walk me through what we’re doing. The whole environment is new to me, but (the program) has helped me become familiar with this kind of work. It’s given me experience I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten until university.”
Noel said that she’s always been interested in marine biology, having lived near the ocean her whole life and excelled in science class.
“Amanda has a keen interest on the subject, she’s focused, pays attention to detail and she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, which is important when you’re dissecting fish,” Juanes said.
Though Noel will return to Esquimalt High in the fall for her senior year, she said she’s looking forward to getting back to the lab as a UVic student next year.