Coastal and Ocean Resources

Sarah Cook, M.Sc., R.P.Bio, General Manager

Sarah is a coastal ecologist whose focus has been on the use of video and imaging systems to study marine communities. She holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Victoria where she conducted her Honours research on invertebrate communities in native and introduced eelgrass beds and a Masters of Science, also from UVic, which focused on the ecology of the glass sponge reefs on the continental shelf of British Columbia. Sarah has been a Registered Professional Biologist in good standing with the College of Applied Biology since 2006. Sarah joined the CORI team in January 2014 and has taken on a leading role in the biological aspects of the ShoreZone classification systems and moved into the role of ShoreZone Program Manager within the office in 2015.

Sarah has over 15 years’ experience in the classification of underwater and aerial imagery ranging from intertidal to deep continental shelf habitats. Her ShoreZone classification experience includes imagery from Alaska, British Columbia and Oregon and she has participated in ShoreZone field surveys in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region and Norton Sound in Alaska. Projects completed in previous employment include structured classification of Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), towed camera and Automated Underwater Vehicle (AUV) video from sponge reefs in Hecate Strait and Georgia Strait, Bowie Seamount, ocean disposal sites, aquaculture farms, numerous ports and harbours, pipeline routes and proposed marine protected areas (see her publications). She has also designed and conducted workshops to train others to use a structured classification system for underwater video as well as put together web-based tutorials on the use of classification databases.

Download her resume »


  • Intertidal and subtidal classification systems
  • Habitat mapping
  • Benthic ecology


  • B.Sc. Biology (Co-op), Honours, with distinction, University of Victoria (1999)
  • M.Sc. Biology, University of Victoria (2005)


  • January 2014 – present
    Senior Biologist, MER Coastal and Ocean Resources
  • March 2006 – January 2014
    Senior Biologist, Benthos Consulting (self-employed)
  • May 2003 – October 2008
    Project Biologist, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., Marine Enviromental Services Division
  • 2000 – 2003
    Data Technician/Underwater Video Classifier, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., Dockside Monitoring Program and Marine Environmental Services Division
  • 1999 – 2000
    Stream Team Member, Veins of Life Watershed Society
  • 1999
    Biologist, Panterra Educational and Cultural Programs


Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington State, British Columbia), Alaska, Canadian Arctic, East Coast of Canada, The Great Lakes and the Caribbean.


Benthic Environments
Ms. Cook has extensive experience in identification of organisms and classification of habitats (including both physical and biological attributes) in marine benthic environments ranging from intertidal to nearshore to deep subtidal (500m+). She carried out her M.Sc. research on the ecology of the glass sponge reefs on the continental shelf of British Columbia which have since been proposed as Marine Protected Areas. She has experience with video taken by towed underwater camera systems (such as the Seabed Imaging and Mapping System (SIMS), Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Automated Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) as well as still photography. Projects completed include monitoring and assessment of health of glass sponge reefs in Georgia Strait, deep-water coral and sponge surveys of Bowie Seamount, classification of benthic epifauna present at newly discovered cold seeps (carbonate mounds) in Hecate Strait as well as numerous surveys for ports, harbours, peipleines and other building projects.

Habitat Classification
Ms. Cook has worked on numerous projects to combine physical and biological attributes to characterize the habitats of a given area. These characterizations have been used in planning for environmental aseessment processes, permitting processes, planning for protected areas and fisheries inventories.

Underwater Monitoring Program Design
Using her experience with video classification systems and benthic habitat characterizations , Ms Cook has been involved in the design and creation of monitoring systems for benthic habitats in potentially impacted areas, such as aquaculture farms and ocean dumping sites. This has involved desktop studies to identify indicator species, the set-up of a structured, repeatable classification systems as well as the creation and delivery of training workshops to potential service providers.

Project Management
Ms. Cook spent 5 years as an indpendant contractor during which she managed over 30 projects including budget and time tracking, communication with clients, subcontractros and stakeholders and timely delivery of products.

Ms. Cook has experience training and supervising new employees in underwater and aerial classification systems. She designed and conducted several training workshops as well as a series of DVD tutorials on the use
of a structured classification system for hard seabed aquaculture site monitoring.

250-658-4050  |  » Email Sarah Cook, M.Sc., R.P.Bio