Principal Investigator

Kai Chan

I am a professor and Canada Research Chair at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC (I use he/him pronouns). I am an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton and Stanford Universities. My empirical and modeling research straddles the natural and social sciences to query how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Key themes include relational values, transformative change, and rewilding—from cities to agriculture to protected areas, and with species present elsewhere or those currently extinct.





Postdoctoral Research Associates

img_5181_trimEdward Gregr

My research on ecosystem services is situated at the intersection of marine and human ecology. I use a variety of methods to classify marine ecosystems and characterise the corresponding ecosystem services. I also explore how the abundance and distribution of these services are influenced by management, and how human impacts can be mitigated.




Andy Stock

My research focuses on computational methods to explore how human activities and the resulting pressures change ecosystems. I’m especially interested in the limitations of predictive models, and how they can nevertheless provide valuable information for environmental management.





Graduate Students

Aaron Aguirre

I am interested in understanding how urban and agricultural land-use impacts bat abundance and diversity across Metro Vancouver. I hope my research will be able to inform bat conservation with regards to land development.



Ashli Akins

I am an interdisciplinary doctoral student, combining anthropology, law, environmental studies, and economics. My research critically examines the shifting relationship between cultural and economic values, and explores how to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in an era of rapid economic change. My primary case study focuses on the Quechua textile tradition of the Peruvian Andes.


Lea Anderson

My research uses an interdisciplinary, qualitative approach to investigate connections between consumption, well-being, relational values, and social change. I have a background in cultural studies and literary theory.



Alberto Campos

My research seeks to understand the cascades triggered by defaunation — including species extinctions, local extirpations and severe population depletions — and their ecological consequences, in order to propose management and rewilding practices that could recover environmental services for the benefit of all beings.



Jo FitzgibbonsJo Fitzgibbons

My research explores urban rewilding, the multi-level governance of urban greening and habitat restoration efforts, and planning tools to build urban green spaces that meet the needs of both human and ecological communities.


Daniel Forrest

I am interested in regional-scale spatial patterns and relationships of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) and how these may change due to human activities and use. I hope to use insights gleaned from predictive models of biodiversity and ES to make conservation, management, and rewilding plans and policy recommendations.



Dana Johnson

I am interested in adopting a relational lens to understand the variety of factors that shape solutions to environmental issues. Because human-environment interactions are at the heart of social-ecological transformations, my research will aim to better understand how people relate to ecosystems and biodiversity, alongside the provision of ecosystem services. 


Rocío López de la Lama

I am interested in untangling what drives people to engage in nature conservation, mostly in the context of values, motivations, and socio-ecological dynamics. I am particularly focused on Latin America, as it is a highly biodiverse and socially unique region.




Rumi Naito

My research interests include human behavior and behavior change in conservation and land use in tropical landscapes, collaborative decision-making, avoided deforestation, biodiversity conservation, tropical fire ecology, and ecosystem services.



Anna Santo

I am interested in understanding why and how people work together to achieve common objectives related to climate justice and ecosystem rewilding.





Undergraduate Students


Claire Armstrong

My background is in marine science and ecology with a conservation focus. I hope to gain a better understanding of the impacts of species introductions on ecosystem function, specifically in the context of rewilding.



Lauren Moody

I am interested in systems thinking for sustainability as well as climate justice advocacy work. My research is focused on analyzing national progress on levers and leverage points for pathways to sustainability and the broader relationships between key elements of transformative change.



Hanaa Punja

My background is in biology with a focus on environmental sustainability. I am interested in exploring how business systems and processes can mitigate environmental impact with an emphasis on a natural sciences approach.



Meg Sheline

I am interested in environmental policy domestically and internationally. My research has focused on the jurisdictional responsibilities of Canadian government and the legislation that concerns contamination mitigation for salmon in urban Vancouver streams.



Brooke Sutherland

I am interested in the material and social dimensions of the transition to a circular economy and how transformative change may be fostered to create a more sustainable, just world.



DaiPhoto of Daisy Zhaosy Qin Rui Zhao

My general interest is in creating environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable systems. My research is specifically focused on exploring the ecological dimensions of stream and watershed restoration projects aimed at rewilding salmon in British Columbia.




Lab Alumni

Colton Stevens

MSc. thesis, 2022: Walking the walk : outdoor recreation predicts sustainability actions alongside environmental attitudes, values, and beliefs




Julia Craig

MSc. thesis, 2022: Prime real estate : how urban landscape variables influence bat presence in Vancouver, Canada




Taggart_CHANSlabJonathan Taggart

PhD thesis, 2021: “Still water, who knows you?” : counter-mapping traditional knowledge and ancestral values with Nak’azdli Whut’en




harold-website-photoHarold Eyster

PhD thesis, 2021: Leveraging human–nature relationships towards sustainable pathways




Nicole Jung

Undergraudate researcher, 2020-21. “My research examines Metro Vancouver’s lichens and bryophytes as cryptic, yet city-wide testaments to the presence of urban biodiversity beyond designated greenspaces. I hope to better understand the potential anthropogenic and ecological drivers of epiphyte distributions and diversity on street trees.”




John Driscoll and coralJohn Driscoll

PhD thesis, 2020: Nutrient yields from northwest Atlantic fisheries : analysis, indicators, and optimization




WP_20140924_009Maayan Kreitzman

PhD thesis, 2020: Perennial agriculture : agronomy and environment in long-lived food systems




GMcDGraham McDowell

PhD thesis, 2020: Adaptation to Glacio-hydrological Change in High Mountains.




Cameron Bullen, MSc

MSc thesis, 2020: A Marine Megafaunal Extinction and Its Consequences for Kelp Forests of the North Pacific. 



Aspen Ono, MSc

MSc thesis, 2020: The Canadian Outdoors from the Perspective of Recent Immigrants in Metro Vancouver: Nature Nurtures Newcomers.




FotoAlejandra Echeverri (PhD)

PhD Thesis, 2019:  Losing woodcreepers, iconizing manakins, and despising grackles : understanding human-bird relationships in agro-ecological landscapes 




Matthew Mitchell (Postdoctoral research associate)





Race RocksBennettNathan Bennett (Postdoctoral research associate)





11053_10153013815286354_4853655855288068794_nMarc Tadaki (PhD)

PhD Thesis, 2018: Filling the void : struggles over implementing freshwater policy in Aotearoa New Zealand




Semmelink_profilepicAdrian Semmelink (MSc)

MSc Thesis, 2018: Differences between farmer and government official views of best management practices : cracks or canyons?




Emily Anderson (MSc)

MSc Thesis, 2018: “Market” participation for development and environmental sustainability : Costa Rican dairy markets and payments for ecosystem services




Mollie Chapman (PhD)

PhD Thesis, 2017: Agri-‘culture’ and biodiversity : rethinking payments for ecosystem services in light of relational values




Elizabeth Williams (MSc)

MSc Thesis, 2017: Content and prevalence of environmentalist stereotypes in Canada : a psychological perspective





Daniel Karp (Postdoctoral research associate)

Current position: Assistant Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis.




Paige Olmsted (PhD)

PhD Thesis, 2017: For love or money : harnessing environmental values and financial incentives to promote conservation stewardship



Gerald Singh (MSc, PhD)

Masters Thesis, 2010: Effects of sea otters on nearshore ecosystem functions with implications for ecosystem services

PhD Thesis, 2016: Understanding and assessing cumulative impacts to coastal ecosystem services


Sarah Klain (MSc, PhD)

Masters Thesis, 2010: Navigating marine ecosystem services and values

PhD Thesis, 2016: Wind of change : offshore wind farms, contested values and ecosystem services


Jordan Tam (PhD)

Masters Thesis, 2010: Understanding preferences for climate change adaptation for protected areas : the psychology of individual risk perceptions

PhD Thesis, 2016: Understanding adaptation and social-ecological change in Chilean coastal communities


Ally Thompson (MSc)

Masters Thesis, 2015: Effects of linear barriers on African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) movement in a transfrontier conservation area



Jordan Levine (PhD, 2008 – 2014)

PhD Thesis, 2014: An even less convenient truth: Addressing the challenge of sustainable development through an integration of cognition and culture



Cathryn Clarke Murray (Postdoc 2012 – 2013)

I am a marine ecologist broadly interested in the interaction of human and natural systems. My research follows two major themes: ecosystem-based management and ecology of invasive species. Currently: Senior Aquatic Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Theraesa Coyle (RA, on and off 2009 – 2013)

I am interested in how uncertainty affects management decision-making and the role that ecosystem-based approaches can play in mitigating the impact of manager’s imperfect knowledge of natural resources.

Rebecca Goldman Martone (Postdoc, 2008 – 2012)

Currently: Marine and Coastal Resources, British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development



Russell Markel (Postdoc, 2010 – 2012)

Currently: Captain and Owner/Operator of OuterShores Expeditions


Megan Mach (PhD, 2007 – 2012)

Currently: Communication and Outreach Postdoctoral Research Fellow at DataONE

PhD Thesis, 2012: Research on marine coastal impacts to promote ecosystem-based management: Nonnative species in northeast Pacific estuaries


Maria Espinosa Romero (MSc, 2008 – 2010)

Espinosa-Romero, M. J., K. M. A. Chan, T. McDaniels and D. M. Dalmer (2011). “Structuring decision-making for ecosystem-based management.” Marine Policy 35(5): 575-583. url

Espinosa-Romero, M. J., E. J. Gregr, C. Walters, V. Christensen and K. M. A. Chan (2011). “Representing mediating effects and species reintroductions in Ecopath with Ecosim.” Ecological Modelling 222(9): 1569-1579. url

Currently: Coordinator of the Midriff Islands Program, Community and Biodiversity (COBI)

Lara Hoshizaki (MSc, 2006 – 2009)

Chan, K. M. A., L. Hoshizaki and B. Klinkenberg (2011) “Ecosystem Services in Conservation Planning: Targeted Benefits or Co-benefits/Costs?” PLoS ONE 6(9): e24378. url



Veronica Lo (MSc, 2006 – 2009)

Lo, V., C. Levings, K. M. A. Chan (2012). Quantifying potential propagule pressure of aquatic invasive species from the commercial shipping industry in Canada. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 64(2):295-302. url

Currently: Programme Assistant, Biodiversity and Climate Change Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme

Penny White (MSc, 2006 – 2009)

Currently: Project leader for the Metlakatla First Nations, consultant and photographer