Sean Tippett headshot

Sean Tippett

Science/Data Team
Data Steward
Ocean Networks Canada

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

As a data steward at ONC, I curate and maintain the integrity of data flowing from our many oceanic networked devices and help with the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability of ONC datasets. I specialize in camera devices and have a background in biology, which I use to help ONC with their biological identifications and standards in ROV and other camera imagery. On this cruise, I will be documenting the marine operations and changes made to our underwater networks. Keeping track of the provenance (what is where and when) of our cabled observatories is essential in our continued research of the deep ocean.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

My interest in marine sciences was sparked during a Cooperative Education assignment in Japan during my university years, but I have lived near the Northeast Pacific Ocean since I was very young. Understanding these essential ocean variables is one way that I can become closer to the region that I have called home for much of my life. I have an interest in artificial intelligence and hope to one day facilitate the automated, reliable identifications of Pacific marine organisms throughout various cabled networks. Providing new methods in capturing biological data is important in understanding the health of our oceans and the planet.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

Dr. Hidekatsu Yamazaki (now retired) and Takeyoshi Nagai helped me realize my passion by exposing me to the wonderful world of underwater cabled observatories and continuous time-series data of biogeochemical measurements. I would like to express my gratitude to them and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology for supporting UVIC student exchange programs as well as the JEDI-Systems Cabled Observatory on Oshima Island.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

Realizing that some of these species have never been documented by science when you are observing these deep-water images through the video feed is really something special. Seeing how these organisms coexist in their natural environment is something that humans couldn't have accomplished until now, and is always a joy to watch.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I have been lucky enough to experience many tastes of careers through my time with the Cooperative Education Program at the University of Victoria. I strongly recommend that you pursue a similar program while undergoing your own studies. That led to my experience as an Oceanographic Data Analyst in Tokyo. I also gained my sea-legs as an Observer at-sea, where I quantified catch and by-catch in the Canadian Fishing Industry. My path as a data steward started with my role as a Hydroacoustic Technician, where we would use special networked devices to monitor the yearly salmon runs in the Fraser River. I later worked as Marine Spatial Data Technician with Fisheries and Oceans Canada where I helped the government grapple with biological data representations in open data formats.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Biology - Cooperative Education -- University of Victoria 2018

What are your hobbies?

I love keeping track of current events in the National Hockey League. I'm especially excited to start following Seattle's new hockey team. They even have a cool deep-water theme!

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

If you want to work in the marine biology field, there are many pathways to reach your goal. Many occupational designations are needed to have a successful operation. engineering, software, and science are all viable options. If you study biology, make sure to gain an ability outside of your field. I have gained programming experience for data analysis and visualizations and using coding languages like Python can really increase your chances of getting into your desired field.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I am affiliated with OET through a partnership with Ocean Networks Canada. Working alongside my cohorts from other organizations is something I really look forward to.


Sean participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: