Marine biologist William Cheung named director of UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

William Cheung. Photo: Sylvie Li.

Renowned marine biologist William Cheung has been appointed director of the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.

The appointment is effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2026 with the possibility of an extension.

Cheung is an international leader in studying how climate change affects marine biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the vulnerabilities and responses of ocean-dependent human-natural systems to global change. A Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change, his contributions to marine sciences are exceptional with his research directly addressing policy-relevant questions that span local to global scales and cut across oceanography, marine ecology and fisheries, with consequences for economics and social sciences.

Recently named #20 on Reuters “Hot List” of 1000 climate scientists in the world, Cheung has published over 230 scientific articles including many in high-profile journals including Nature, Science, Science Advances, Nature Climate Change and Global Change Biology.

In the past seven year, he was the Director of Science for the multi-partner, international Nippon Foundation – UBC Nereus research program with an annual budget of ~$1.5 million, the Program focuses on key challenges of the oceans’ sustainability and has established a solid track-record of participation in national and international policy discussions on the oceans.

“IOF plays a significant role in advancing UBC’s signature strengths in environmental, climate change and sustainability research,” says Dean of Science Meigan Aronson. “I look forward to working with William and the entire IOF community in the coming years to continue to build on those strengths.”

“I’d also like to thank Evgeny Pakhomov for his dedicated and excellent service as IOF’s director over the past five years. Under his leadership the Institute has taken major strides—establishing a graduate program, launching the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, undertaking significant faculty hiring, and completing a strategic plan.”

“It’s very appropriate that William Cheung, a graduate of the Institute, is stepping up to become its new director,” says current IOF director Evgeny Pakhomov. “I foresee a bright future for the Institute and hope that the entire community will help and support William in his new position the same way they've always been supportive during my tenure.”

Cheung obtained his BSc in Biology and M.Phil. from the University of Hong Kong. He worked for WWF Hong Kong for two years, after which he completed his Ph.D. in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at UBC. From 2009 to 2011, he was Lecturer in Marine Ecosystem Services in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. In 2011 he returned to UBC as an Assistant Professor.

The IOF director search committee consisted of: Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Dr. Murdoch McAllister, Dr. Brian Hunt, Meaghan Efford, Roshni Mangar, Scott Finestone and Dr. Michael Murphy.

“I foresee a bright future for the Institute and hope that the entire community will help and support William in his new position."

Chris Balma
c 604-202-5047