Marine ecologist Dr. Mary O’Connor has been appointed director of UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre (BRC), effective January 1, 2023.
Dr. O’Connor, who previously served as the Centre’s associate director, investigates the adaptive capacity of biodiversity and ecosystem function in changing environments. Her lab draws on unifying principles from diverse ecological disciplines to predict and explain how organisms, communities and ecosystems persist in changing environments.
“Ecological and biodiversity research is one of UBC’s strengths, and I look forward to working with Mary and the entire BRC community to build on their well-deserved research reputation,” says Dr. Meigan Aronson, Dean of the Faculty of Science.
“I’m also very grateful to Drs. Loren Rieseberg and Dolph Schluter for their efforts advancing the Centre’s research enterprise over the past five years.”
More than 95 faculty and 350 graduate students and post docs at the BRC work to understand the planet’s biological diversity—and ongoing changes to biodiversity—through research at all levels, from genes to ecosystems through research on ecology, evolution and conservation. UBC is consistently ranked as Canada’s best university in the environmental, ecological, and Earth and marine sciences, and the BRC is one of the university’s designated research excellence clusters.
“It’s now clear that considering biodiversity leads to better outcomes for our environment, human health and our shared future,” says Dr. O’Connor. “I’m excited to step into this role to support the excellent research and training underway at the BRC to meet the biodiversity challenges we face in B.C. and Canada.”
Dr. O’Connor, an awardee of the NSERC Steacie Memorial Fellowship and Steacie Prize, earned her PhD in ecology at the University of North Carolina in 2008.
The BRC director search committee consisted of Dr. Rachel Germain, Dr. Amy Angert, Dr. Dolph Schluter, Dr. Jennifer Williams, Tom Booker, Dylan Moxley, Katie Beall, and Dr. Dan Coombs.