For over thirty years, Don held several positions at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography—including Division Manager of the Marine Fish Division and program led of a team conducting research grey and harbour seals on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Since 1986, he has also been an Adjunct Professor in Biology at Dalhousie University, Halifax where he has supervised over two dozen graduate students.
He grew up in southern Ontario, where he spent many weekends and summers at the family cottage on the Kawartha Lakes developing a keen interest in sailing, canoeing, and wildlife. At the University of Guelph, he conducted research for his M.Sc. degree on sub-Arctic small mammals. From there he travelled west to UBC where he earned a PhD at the Institute of Resource Ecology. This research took him to South Africa to study leopards and to Jasper National Park where he spent three years studying coyotes.
Don then headed east to work on the population dynamics of harp and hooded seal on the ice-fields off Labrador and norther Newfoundland. After five years in Newfoundland, Don arrived at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He is an editor of two books and has published over 230 scientific papers. He is past editor of Marine Mammal Science, and past chair of the National Marine Mammal Peer Review Committee which advises the Federal Government on the status of marine mammals in Canada.
He also advises on marine mammal management issues in the United States, Europe, and down under and consults on the ecological impacts of marine fisheries. Semi-retirement has left more time for his passion for photography and travelling, including that with Adventure Canada.