PICES Staff Biography


Sonia Batten - Executive Secretary

I became Executive Secretary of PICES on April 14th, 2020. For the twenty-five years prior to that I worked as a biological oceanographer for the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey firstly under the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS, where I was also Assistant Director) and then following its merger, with the Marine Biological Association, UK. I was Director of the North Pacific CPR survey which began in 2000. This survey came about mainly through PICES efforts, following the first PICES meeting I attended in 1998. I’ve been involved with PICES ever since, participating in scientific sessions and workshops, as a MONITOR ex-officio committee member, and a contributor to the North Pacific Ecosystem Status Reports (NPESR II and III).

Sonia Batten
PICES Secretariat
c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences
P.O. Box 6000 (mailing address)
9860 West Saanich Road (courier/institute address)
Sidney, British Columbia
Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: +1-250-363-6364
Fax: +1-250-363-6827
E-mail: sonia.batten@pices.int

Hal Batchelder - Deputy Executive Secretary

My early life through my undergraduate degree was in New England (esp. Massachusetts and Maine) on the East Coast of the US. In 1977, I moved west to the Pacific coast and Oregon State University (Newport and Corvallis), where I obtained a Master’s degree in Oceanography working on the population dynamics and structure of intertidal sea anemones. During a hiatus from being a student I did oceanographic sampling and taxonomic analysis of zooplankton samples collected from the Canadian Ocean Weatherships Quadra and Vancouver at Station P in the North Pacific. Later I obtained a Ph.D. at OSU using zooplankton samples from the subarctic Pacific.

After postdoctoral and marine scientist positions on the US East coast (with research programs and cruises in the Sargasso Sea and subarctic North Atlantic), I returned to the Pacific coast, specifically California, to become the first scientific director of the National U.S. GLOBEC Steering Committee Office. In my spare time I hiked the Sierra’s and sailed San Francisco Bay. I became administrator of the US GLOBEC Northeast Pacific Regional Coordinating Office in Berkeley, and later at Oregon State University. It was during my time with GLOBEC that PICES was founded; I attended PICES-1993 (Seattle, USA) and PICES-1998 (Fairbanks, USA), but was not involved in expert groups of PICES prior to 2001. Since 2001 (the 10th Anniversary Meeting of PICES), I have served on many PICES groups, including as the Co-Chairman of the Climate Change and Carrying Capacity program and member of the Science Board (2001–2009), and more recently as U.S. delegate to the Governing Council (2012–2013). I have contributed to many other PICES expert groups, most importantly on the first North Pacific Ecosystem Status Report Working Group, the Fisheries and Ecosystem Responses to Recent Regime Shifts (FERRRS) Study Group, the Study Group on Future Integrative Scientific Programs (SG-FISP), and as a member of the FUTURE Advisory Panel on Status, Outlooks, Forecasting and Engagement (SOFE).

I am very pleased to now work in the PICES Secretariat, where I fill multiple functions. I do editing, meeting planning, coordination of expert groups, and as needed fill in for the Executive Secretary. I was impressed with the beauty of the Saanich Peninsula region of Vancouver Island, the home of the PICES office, when I first visited this region in 1980 to go on my first Quadra cruise. I don’t get to go on many research cruises anymore, so have to satisfy my “seagoing” needs by kayaking the beautiful seas of Vancouver Island. During winter I’m addicted to NFL U.S. football. My family consists of my wife and our cats (which came with us from Oregon).

Hal Batchelder
PICES Secretariat
c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences
P.O. Box 6000 (mailing address)
9860 West Saanich Road (courier/institute address)
Sidney, British Columbia
Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: +1-250-363-6826
Fax: +1-250-363-6827
E-mail: hbatch@pices.int

Alexander Bychkov - Special Projects Coordinator

My career with PICES started more than 20 years ago. I was the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Organization from May 1, 1996 to May 31, 1999, the Executive Secretary from June 1, 1999 to December 31, 2014, and serve now as a Special Projects Coordinator. In this capacity, I have been responsible for coordinating activities related to the PICES 25th anniversary, managing several scientific projects supported by the Japanese Trust Fund (MarWeB – “Marine Ecosystem Health and Human Well-Being”, ADRIFT – “Assessing the Debris-Related Impacts From the Tsunami” and FishGIS – “Building Capacity for Coastal Monitoring by Small-scale Fishers”), preparing the symposia on “Drivers of dynamics of small pelagic fish resources” (March 6-11, 2017, Victoria, Canada) and “Understanding changes in transitional areas of the Pacific” (April 24-26, 2018, La Paz, Mexico), and assembling publications resulting from these projects and meetings. In 2016, I received the PICES Chair Award given for “dedication and hard work that were key drivers that have moved PICES from a regional North Pacific science organization to a well-respected and recognized truly global organization, leading important initiatives in climate change and marine ecosystem science.”

In my pre-PICES life, I graduated from the Moscow State University (Chemistry, with distinction), received my Ph.D. (in Analytical Chemistry) from the USSR Academy of Sciences (V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Moscow), and then spent more than 20 years working as a research scientist and head of the Marine Hydrochemistry and Geochemistry Laboratory at the V.I. Il'ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute in Vladivostok. My scientific interests have been focused on the carbon cycle in the North Pacific and its marginal seas. I was involved in national and international cooperation related to the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), and served as a member of the JGOFS Scientific Steering Committee, co-chairman of the JGOFS North Pacific Task Team, and chairman of the JGOFS North Pacific Synthesis Group.

Alexander Bychkov
PICES Secretariat
c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences
P.O. Box 6000 (mailing address)
9860 West Saanich Road (courier/institute address)
Sidney, British Columbia
Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: +1-250-363-6346
Fax: +1-250-363-6827
E-mail: Bychkov@pices.int

Christina Chiu - Deputy of Administration

I started working for the PICES Secretariat in 1993. My background is completely non-scientific, though I believe in hands-on experiments and research, my preferred subjects being wools, cottons, silks, tea and, to a lesser extent, food. My degrees are in Arts, specifically Japanese Literature (B.A.) and Japanese Theatre (M.A., both from the University of Toronto). Design is my favourite task and finances are a dread. Though my position title was recently re-named (to Deputy of Administration), my role is basically the same, which is to make things happen in general - from ordering toner cartridges, planning trips, paying everyone and for everything, to producing reports and brochures, and organizing meetings and receptions for 50-500 people. Don’t be misled, I am not the PICES know-it-all, but I think I at least know where to ask, or offer vague and grandiose approximations.

Christina Chiu
PICES Secretariat
c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences
P.O. Box 6000 (mailing address)
9860 West Saanich Road (courier/institute address)
Sidney, British Columbia
Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: +1-250-363-6878
Fax: +1-250-363-6827
E-mail: christina@pices.int

Julia Yazvenko - Database and Web Administrator

I started working for the PICES Secretariat in 2003. I received my first degree in Russia (B.A. in History, Moscow State University) and after moving to Canada (1992), I continued my education (M.A. in History, University of Waterloo and Computer Science, University of Victoria). I worked in the Pylos Regional Archaeological Project in Greece as a member of an international team of scientists and archaeologists, and later as a technician, translator/editor and programmer at various private sector companies. My major responsibility is the maintenance of PICES Database and Website; website design, web and database maintenance, and logistics for co-sponsored events. I also assist in production of PICES publications.

Julia Yazvenko
PICES Secretariat
c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences
P.O. Box 6000 (mailing address)
9860 West Saanich Road (courier/institute address)
Sidney, British Columbia
Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: +1-250-363-6366
Fax: +1-250-363-6827
E-mail: secretariat@pices.int