Core Faculty


Dr. Simon Donner

Director, Ocean Leaders

Simon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography. His current research includes climate change and coral reefs, ocean warming and El Niño, climate change adaptation in the developing world, Canadian and international climate policy, and public engagement on climate change.

Dr. Natasha Affolder

Professor at UBC

Natasha is an Associate Professor in the Allard School of Law. Her work explores broad topics in transnational environmental law. Her research examines the cross-cutting nature of environmental issues that transcend state borders but are not limited to interactions between states.

Dr. Kai Chan

Professor at UBC

Kai is a Professor in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. He is also interested in ecosystem services, the evolutionary ecology of pest control, applied environmental ethics, and ecosystem-based management. Kai is a Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.


Dr. Villy Christensen

Professor at UBC

Villy is a Professor in the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and Director of Global Ocean Modeling based in Institute. He is known for his work as a leader and developer of the Ecopath project, an ecosystem modelling software system widely used in fisheries management.


Dr. Christopher Harley

Professor at UBC

Chris is a Professor in the Department of Zoology. His research investigates the impact of climate change on rocky coasts. His lab is interested in how climatic factors, such as temperature, CO2, pH, and biological relationships such as predation and facilitation, interact to create ecological patterns in time and space.


Dr. Terre Satterfield

Professor at UBC

Terre is a Professor in, and the Director of, the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Her work concerns sustainable development in the context of debates about cultural meanings, environmental values, perceived risk, environmental and ecosystem health.


Dr. Curtis Suttle

Professor at UBC

Curtis is a Professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, the Department of Botany, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His work focuses on environmental microbiology and virology, with current projects on viruses in extreme environments.

Dr. Philippe Tortell

Professor at UBC

Philipe is a Professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Botany. He has broad interest in marine biogeochemical cycles and ocean-climate interactions. His research is focused on understanding the potential climate effects on Arctic and Antarctic marine systems.

Dr. Amanda Vincent

Professor at UBC

Amanda is a Professor in the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and the Department of Zoology. She is involved in biological and social research, empowering local communities, establishing marine protected areas, managing small-scale fisheries, restructuring international trade, and promoting integrated policy.


Dr. Michael Byers

Professor at UBC

Michael is a Professor in the Department of Political Science. His work focuses on issues of Arctic sovereignty, climate change, the law of the sea, and Canadian foreign and defence policy. Michael also holds a Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law.





Fiona Beaty

I am a graduate student in Dr. Christopher Harley’s lab in the Department of Zoology. My research revolves around evolutionary-ecology dynamics, in particular the adaptive capacity of coastal marine ecosystems to climate change. I am intrigued by how intertidal invertebrate communities react to environmental changes.

Cameron Bullen

I am an M.Sc. student in Dr. Kai Chan’s lab in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at The University of British Columbia. My current research hopes to explore marine ecosystem services and how they have changed on BC’s coast.

Alberto Campos

I’m a PhD Candidate in Kai Chan’s lab. My research seeks to understand the cascades triggered by defaunation – extinctions, extirpations and severe population reductions – and their ecological consequences in marine environments, to propose rewilding practices that could recover ecosystem services.


Sara Cannon

I’m a PhD student and Ocean Leaders Graduate Fellow in the Geography department at the University of British Columbia. I recently finished my M.Sc., also at UBC, on studying coral reefs and resilience to climate change and local human activities in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Fanny Couture

I am a PhD student and Ocean Leader graduate fellow in the Zoology department of the University of British Columbia. My research interests combines marine fisheries, statistical ecological modeling, and marine mammal ecology. My current project aims to explore prey and predator population dynamics.

Allison Cutting

I am a master’s student, co-supervised by Dr. Terre Satterfield and Dr. Rashid Sumaila. My research focuses on small-scale fisheries in Nicaragua, with attention to food and livelihood security. I am passionate about finding solutions that foster harmony between the ocean and the people that depend on it.

Kaleigh Davis

I am a PhD student in the O’Connor Lab. I am interested in studying the effects of climate change on community dynamics in marine systems. Outside of school I enjoys birding, biking, and doing crossword puzzles.

Santiago De La Puente Jeri

I am a Peruvian researcher that studies the ecological and human dimensions of the Humboldt Current, with emphasis on Peruvian fisheries economics and governance. Currently my work is focused on linking ecosystem models with seafood value chains for management strategy evaluation.

Katie Florko

I am a PhD student in Dr. Marie Auger-Methe’s Statistical Ecology lab at UBC. My research focuses on the effects of sea ice loss on Arctic marine mammal habitat use and foraging ecology. I hope my work will help to understand how sea ice affects Arctic marine mammal habitat use and foraging success, and ultimately, identify critical habitat.

Adam Hicks

I am a current master’s student in Project Seahorse. My research interests are broadly centered on various marine areas of the tropics, with a specific focus on the international wildlife trade.  My research thesis is looking at the International Seahorse trade in Cambodia, including the close ties behind Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Carolina Lang

I’m a graduate student in Dr. Christensen’s lab at and my research interest is the spatial distribution pattern of small pelagic fish in the Humboldt Current and its relationship to climate variability. Being part of the Ocean Leader program offers me an opportunity to acquire interdisciplinary knowledge with a broad vision in current ocean problems and resources management issues, and experience in how to communicate research to bridge gaps between science and society.

Rocío López de la Lama

I have been working in nature conservation in Peru since 2011, mainly exploring what motivates people to engage with pro-environmental behavior. My previous work has focused on sustainable seafood, small-scale fisheries, gender studies and exploring people’s relationship with nature.

Roshni Mangar

I am Master’s student working with Dr. Amanda Vincent at Project Seahorse. My project aims to understand the socioeconomic background of trawl fishers along the coast of India to inform policy makers about the effects of restricting trawl fisheries on fishers’ well-being.  I am from Mauritius and the Ocean Leaders program is key for me to learn applied skills to bring back to my island.

Greig Oldford

I am currently working on a spatial-temporal ecosystem model for the Strait of Georgia to investigate why juvenile salmon marine survival declined in the early 1980s and has not recovered. The Ocean Leaders Fellowship offers a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact on ocean-related issues and I feel fortunate to be selected as part of this program.

Thomas Smith

I am an MSc candidate at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries working with Dr. Jordan Rosenfeld and Dr. Brian Hunt. My research focuses on establishing a relationship between salmonid smolt production and stream discharge in the Pacific Northwest.

Alejandra Urcelay

I am a Master’s student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability working with Dr. Simon Donner. My current research focuses on analyzing the relationship between rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching at a global scale.

Joanna Wong

I’m a Master’s student in Dr. Marie Auger-Méthé’s lab in the Institute of Oceans and Fisheries. My research compares the migratory paths of birds in polar regions, and investigates the impact of human activity on their movement and behaviour.



Postdoctoral Fellows


Harmony Martell

I am honored to be an Ocean Leaders Postdoctoral Fellow.  My doctoral research focused on thermal acclimation of corals. In the Climate and Coastal Ecology Lab here at UBC, I’m developing models to improve coral bleaching predictions and to examine whether repeat thermal stress can make corals more resilient.


On-Campus Collaborators



Dr. Mary O’Connor

Professor at UBC

Mary is a Professor in the Department of Zoology. Her research examines the influence of environmental temperature on the dynamics of ecological communities. Her work contributes to our understanding of how patterns of species abundance are related to ocean temperature.

Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov

Professor at UBC

Evgeny is a Professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. His research spans a broad range of interests covering topics from species ecology, at the level from zooplankton to fish, to ecosystem structure as well as physical-biological and biochemical coupling.

Dr. Andrew Trites

Professor at UBC

Andrew is a Professor and the Director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit. His research spans the fields of ecology, nutrition, physiology, and animal behaviour—and is designed to further the conservation of marine mammals.