Researcher biography

Mercedes McLean grew up on Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from Mount Allison University, Mercedes set out to develop a career in wildlife biology and marine science. Her focus has been working with Indigenous communities to establish community-based research projects, which have included wildlife monitoring programs in the Canadian Rockies, and collaboratively developing ocean monitoring systems with Indigenous communities along coastal British Columbia and into the Canadian Arctic.

In 2019, Mercedes completed the Master of Conservation Science within the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, investigating how Indigenous Knowledge and scientific data could inform marine conservation within southern resident killer whale critical habitat along south-western Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Building on that research, she is now a PhD Candidate within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researching how Indigenous Knowledge and scientific data can together inform the understanding of migratory marine species and connectivity in the ocean environment.      

Mercedes is passionate about making the STEM fields more accessible and relatable to under-represented groups such as girls and Indigenous youth. Mercedes has been a volunteer with the Curious Minds Program since moving to Australia in 2018.