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Mairi Best

Associate Director, Science

Mairi is a marine scientist with interests in the biological, physical, and chemical factors that control the preservation (taphonomy) of calcium carbonate skeletons (e.g. shells): These are our primary source of paleo-biological information and the primary way carbon is transferred from the atmosphere-ocean to the earth’s crust in the carbon cycle.

After completing her B.Sc. in Geology from Laurentian University, including a scuba-based undergraduate thesis on reefal sediments in St Lucia, Mairi then worked on the taphonomy of fossil and modern reefs in Papua New Guinea through the Australian Institute of Marine Science. From there she did a PhD at the University of Chicago and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on the cycling of biogenic carbonate in the tropics. After a short post-doc at the University of Toronto in geomicrobiology, she became an Assistant Professor at McGill University, where she continued to expand her NSERC-funded research program into collaborative projects across latitudes and disciplines, including experiments deployed in Saanich Inlet through VENUS.

Mairi currently manages 13 national and 13 international collaborations across 14 multidisciplinary projects (taphonomy, sedimentary geology, (paleo) biology, geochemistry, geomicrobiology, geography, and benthic ecology). Appointed as Associate Director Science at NEPTUNE Canada in January 2007, Mairi guides the development and integration of the many community scientific experiments within the expanded science program of NEPTUNE Canada.

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