"I am delighted to have Debora as a member of my research group.  Her field research on remote islands off the central coast of BC is incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally.  Zooming around in small inflatable boats in all kinds of weather, camping in places where there are no campsites, and bush-whacking through dense rainforests in a region that gets more than 3 m of rain a year is not for everyone!  Debora thrives in these challenges, and her discoveries of the impacts of nutrients from the sea on terrestrial ecosystems are changing the way we think about the inter-connectedness of habitats."

Dr. John Reynolds

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Student Profile: Debora Obrist

Biological Sciences PhD student in the Faculty of Science

December 11, 2020
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I grew up on a farm near a small town in Alberta, but fell in love with the ocean while studying biology at the University of Victoria. After my undergrad, I worked at a wildlife genetics lab in Nelson, BC, before deciding I wanted to pursue graduate school. I like spending time outside and am a big fan of rock climbing, skiing, bird-watching, and exploring tide pools.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU mainly because I was enthralled by a particular research project - the Hakai Institute's 100 Islands Project. I was hoping to gain experience collecting data in the field, and excited to work with my senior supervisor.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

I study how nutrients move from the ocean onto land, and how this movement can affect plants and animals that live in coastal ecosystems. My research takes place on 100 small islands on the central coast of British Columbia, where nutrients either wash up on beaches in the form of dead seaweed, or are brought on shore by river otters.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I have been lucky enough to spend many months doing fieldwork in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, in Haíɫzaqv and Wuikinuxv territory. Getting to explore the central coast of B.C. is definitely a highlight in my research. I also enjoy the sense of community in my department - there is always somebody around who are excited to talk about science, and I have made some lifelong friends here.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

NSERC CGS Doctoral Scholarship

Contact Debora: dobrist@sfu.ca
Website: http://deboraobrist.weebly.com/