VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity


MABRRI depends on a few full-time staff throughout the year. In addition to the Coordinator Team, these valuable individuals help with ongoing projects and daily operational tasks.

Ariel Verhoeks, GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist

Ariel is a graduate from VIU’s GIS Diploma program and is MABRRI’s GIS Specialist and Financial Assistant. After graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Geography, she decided to further her education and enroll in the diploma program. Alongside MABRRI, she is excited to be working on the spatial analysis components of MABRRI’s projects. Having lived in Nanaimo her whole life, she believes that working with the MABR and with the MABRRI team is a wonderful opportunity for her to do hands-on work in her home region.

Alanna Vivani, Senior Research Assistant

Alanna has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from VIU in 2018. Her passion for marine biology was the driving factor to move from Ontario. Since then, she’s fallen in love with Vancouver Island and the ecosystems surrounding coastal British Columbia. During her time at VIU, she studied sea otter foraging behaviour and occupation time. This research solidified her interest in marine mammals and conservation. Now, working with MABRRI as a Senior Research Assistant, she is involved in the Forage Fish Spawning Habitat Monitoring project, Wetland Mapping, and an Ecological Inventory and Assessment of Westwood Farm & Cathers Lake. She’s excited to be a part of the MABRRI team and contribute to their work on conservation.

Mandy Hobkirk, MABR Research Assistant

Mandy is a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Science program, majoring in Biology at Vancouver Island University. She began working for MABRRI as a student in the fall of 2017, and has recently transitioned into a full-time MABR Research Assistant position. Mandy has a passion for the environment, and is very excited to start her work within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region.