“What is the best part about your job?”
“It’s really rewarding to be a part of something bigger than myself. The Aquarium aligns with my philosophy on education and conservation.”
Jessica Schultz’s job at the Vancouver Aquarium appears to be a perfect marriage between her two passions: marine ecology and diving.
As the research coordinator for the Aquarium’s Howe Sound Research and Conservation Group, she’s in charge of organizing the research dives in Howe Sound – from Port Atkinson in West Vancouver to Britannia, over to the Sunshine Coast. She says studying this area is like having a “living laboratory in our backyard.” While Jessica’s role is partly administrative, she gets to spend a lot of time on, and in, the water too.
Jessica’s introduction to diving is not a typical one. She started diving in her hometown of Kelowna in the waters of Okanagan Lake. After becoming an instructor at a local dive college, she taught diving in the Cayman Islands before returning to B.C. and heading to university where she studied marine ecology at the University of British Columbia.
Right now, Jessica is keeping busy with the Aquarium’s annual Lingcod Egg Mass Survey. With the help of volunteer divers, the research team is counting the egg masses of these fish in order to better understand the health of their populations in local waters. The male lingcods guarding the egg masses also get counted as part of this survey.
The research team plays an important role in collecting baseline information about our local ecosystems, so we can monitor the changes that happen throughout the years. This information can help protect our local species and their homes.
Learn more about Jessica and other Aquarium staff during the Ask the Staff program taking place daily during Vancouver Aquarium Up Close, a special feature exhibit on now until April 30.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.