Ulrike Drahne headshot

Ulrike Drahne

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, I help to ensure that data flows from the instrument on the sea floor to our data repository where it is available to the public. My main focus is metadata, which means data about data. I'm responsible to keep track of which instrument has been deployed where and for how long. This information is crucial for the correct interpretation of the measured data. Additionally, I correct collected data where necessary, curate calibration files, design site layout diagrams (sketches of our underwater measurement stations), set up metadata prior to deployment, perform data stream checks, and commission instruments after they have been deployed so that the data is available to anyone who wants to use it.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I always had an interest in water and its physical properties. In addition, I wanted to know what's going on in our oceans and why. Following, this interest I studied "Physical Oceanography" which was an eye-opening experience since I learned how intertwined the earth system is: ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, everything is connected to everything. If we do something to just one of these components, it will affect all other components.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My mum supported me in every step and decision during my career. I also received encouragement from friends to follow my interests.

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

The most fascinating moment in my work is when I'm out on the boat and watch an instrument package being lowered in the water and deployed. After you've put hours of work into preparing the instrument and the expedition, that moment when you know that data started streaming and it starts filling another gap in our data catalog, that is a very rewarding experience.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Before starting at Ocean Networks Canada I did not work in ocean science-related jobs. But I completed a training as scientific diver, which emphasized my interest in the ocean.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science (Oceanography) - 2012
Master of Science (Oceanography) - 2015 
Scientific diver - 2017
Doctor of Philosophy (Ocean Science) - 2021

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy cycling, swimming, and snorkeling and occasionally I test my landlady's patience with a practice session on the drums.

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

Find out what you really want to do and what you are actually interested in. Be honest to yourself and put expectations that other people have on you behind (even from friends and family). Don't ignore these expectations, but give them less priority. If you discover that you want to go into ocean science, or support ocean science operations, learn and understand the ocean and the processes taking place below, at and above the surface. Developing an understanding and appreciation for the intertwined earth system shows potential employers that you know what you're talking about and therefore understand the importance of monitoring the earth system and advancing our understanding of the world we live in.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

Being a data steward at Ocean Networks Canada comes with the opportunity to participate in small and large expeditions.


Ulrike participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: