Dal Crest Michael Dowd

Mike Pic

Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Dept of Oceanography (cross-appointment)
Dalhousie University
6316 Coburg Road, PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3H 4R2

email: michael.dowd@dal.ca
Office: Chase Building, Room 104



I have a PhD in physical oceanography specializing in data assimilation, and degrees in the environmental sciences. I worked as a NSERC post-doc in industry developing ocean applications for imaging (synthetic aperture) radar. I then worked as a federal government research scientist for the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) as a coastal oceanographer, after which I joined Dalhousie. My central research interests are in the general development of quantitative methods (statistical and mathematical) for the ocean sciences. This is motivated by the need to fuse emerging complex ocean data types with dynamical understanding. I have a particular interest in state space models, time series methods and signal processing.

My current research projects are:

  • Real-time Data Assimilative Forecasting for Southern Resident Killer Whales :
    This work is focused on developing a forecasting system for the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) in the Salish Sea (southern British Columbia and northwest Washington State. The goal is to combine, in real time, a marine animal movement models with available SRKW location data from visual observations and hydrophone detections to forecast SRKW locations. The purpose is to minimize disturbance and overlap with commerical shipping. We are developing an probabilistic forecasting system based on a state space model - an ensemble-based particle filter with online parameter estimation. Funding: Dept of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO).

  • Machine Learning and Signal Processing for Acoustic Whale detection and Underwater Ship Noise :
    The processing and analysis hydrophone data streams to allow for detection of whales, and identification to species or ecotype. We are analysing these data using signal processing and machine learning. We are also integrating these data with ship acoustics and presence via AIS. This work is being undertaken for southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, as well as narwhal and bowhead whales in the eastern Arctic. Funding: Dept of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO).

  • Modelling Nearshore Temperature Dynamics for Seagrass Ecosystems :
    Ocean temperature dynamics in the nearshore coastal environment are important for both understanding and protecting seagrass ecosystems. This work makes use of an extensive temperature monitoring field program on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, as well as high resolution numerical circulation modelling to characterize temperature variability with metrics relevant to seagrass ecosystem functioning. Funding: Dept of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO), NSERC

  • Estimation of Inorganic Carbon in the North Atlantic :
    The northwest Atlantic ocean plays a key role in global carbon cycling due to its ability to transport atmospheric carbon into the deep ocean. We seek to improve estimates of the ocean carbon inventory and fluxes by developing and applying advanced statistical approaches for mining information in observational databases like GLODAP. Funding: Ocean Frontier Institute, NSERC

  • Improving Validation of Earth System Models :
    Earth systems models (ESMs) form a basis for climate prediction and improving scientific understanding. Our work seeks to look at the comparison of multivariate outputs of ESMs, at various space and time scales, against in-situ point observations. Funding: Environment and Climate Change Canada

  • Analysis of Animal Movement Data :
    Bio-logging sensors record in situ marine animal movement on various time-scales. These potentially provides information on animal movement behaviour, but it is challenging to extract relevant information due to multiscale variations, and non-stationarity. We have been developing time series and signal processing approaches for analysing these data and fusing them with movement models. Applications are being undertaken for grey seals, as well as for northern fur seals. Funding: MITACS, NSERC

    Students and Post-Docs


    Refereed Journal Publications:

    Other Refereed Contributions: