Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates

Postdoctoral Fellows

I am currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. My current work focuses on management and governance of marine protected areas, adaptation of communities to climate change within the context of multiple stressors, and the use of participatory methodologies to facilitate adaptation.

Previously, I have worked as a researcher, university instructor, teacher, guide, international development worker, and sustainability-conservation educator. An environmental and social ethic shaped by lifelong explorations of wilderness areas and experiences working in diverse communities guides my work and research. My master’s research focused on the role of a Canadian national park in the social, cultural, political, and economic development of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation of Lutsel K’e, Northwest Territories, Canada. My doctoral studies were supported by a Trudeau Scholarship and a SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholar.

For more information and publications:


I am a postdoctoral fellow supervised by Dr. Terre Satterfield in the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability. My work is interdisciplinary and traverses environmental, social, and economic geography, political ecology, Indigenous studies, political economy, feminism, and resource geographies. Areas of research include mining, resource laws and environmental regulation, property, environmental assessment, Indigenous rights and title, conservation, and geographies of the north/south.

David Maggs grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and has spent much of his developmental years cultivating his talent as a classical pianist. His primary teachers include Gary Graham, Jane Coop, Rena Sharon, Andre Laplante and Marc Durand. As a pianist he has performed in many places across Canada, the U.S. and in Europe, appeared frequently on CBC Radio, and been fortunate to collaborate with some of the most exciting players of his generation. In 2002 David founded Gros Morne Summer Music, a music festival that has grown into a year-round interdisciplinary arts festival dedicated to cultivating the value of artistic activities in community life. Over the past thirteen years it has hosted artists from over a dozen different countries and developed exciting original work that blends the worlds of concert music, theatre, dance, and new media. Under his leadership, GMSM has recently renovated St Pat’s Church into an innovative studio dedicated to blurring the live and virtual audiences in their presentations. David’s efforts to wed his artistic activities to environmental concern led to the creation of Earth to Human, an enrichment experience exploring the links between art and science, culture and nature, self and world. In 2007 David launched a major initiative to coordinate culture and sustainability in Western Newfoundland with the help of renowned environmentalist David Suzuki that has ultimately led to the liminus festival – a summer gathering of interdisciplinary change scholars and practitioners dedicated to the intersecting links between the arts, sustainability, technology, health, and the natural world. David’s work has been featured on the cover of Canadian Geographic’s Traveler magazine, Atlantic Progress, CBC’s Sounds Like Canada, CBC Newsworld, the Toronto Star, and sustainability blogs from Sweden to the Philippines. Granville Magazine named him one of three ‘emerging stars’ of the environmental movement. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, working with John Robinson. 

I am a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in IRES. I am currently working on a project entitled ‘Science, Values and Wastewater Controversies’ examining the science and policy debates surrounding Victoria’s wastewater treatment with Dr. Gunilla Oberg. My main research interests fall at the intersection of environmental science and perceptions examining uncertainty, conflict and community impacts associated with technological hazards, risk and sustainable innovation, most recently focusing on wastewater treatment and biosolid land application.

Previously, I was a SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar and Lecturer at Western University. My doctoral research examined residents’ experiences with and perceptions of a regional biosolid to agricultural fertilizer processing facility in rural Ontario.  I completed my collaborative Ph.D. in Geography (Environment and Sustainability) in 2017, after being accelerated directly from my M.Sc. in 2013, and completed my B.Sc. (Hons) in Cellular Biology in 2012 at Western University. Further, I have collaborated with interdisciplinary teams at both Thompson Rivers University and Health Canada examining perceptions of biosolid resource recovery and evaluating the effectiveness of the Air Quality Health Index respectively.






Zia Mehrabi is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at IRES, with adjunct positions in The Liu institute for Global Studies & The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford in 2011, and a DPhil in Food Security, also from Oxford, in 2016. He has worked in industry on large scale farmland expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, in a non-profit setting on developing environmentally conscious decision support tools for land managers, and with small scale farmers on the interactive effects of agricultural intensification and climate change on crop yields.

His work at UBC is focused on 3 core research areas:

(1) Technological tools for farmer evidence based decision making
(2) The impact of climate disasters on global agricultural productivity
(3) Novel solutions for monitoring the environmental and social impacts of farming activities

Contact Information:


Offices: Liu Room 201A and AERL Room 445

Phone: 604-401-8101

I am a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at IRES with an adjunct position at the Liu Institute for Global Studies. I am also an Honourary Fellow in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland, where I held a two-year postdoctoral position prior to coming to UBC. I completed my Ph.D. at McGill University in 2014, my M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2006, and my B.Sc. (Hons.) at the University of Victoria in 2002. I’ve also worked in a variety of resource management positions in western Canada, including forestry research in British Columbia and environmental impact assessment in Alberta.

My current research focuses on how the arrangement of different land uses and habitats across landscapes affect biodiversity and ecosystem services, mainly in human-dominated agricultural and urban landscapes. My work aims to improve our knowledge about how human activities influence landscape and ecosystem dynamics. My ultimate goal is to provide information that can be used to predict how future landscape changes will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services and thereby inform land management decisions and improve human wellbeing.

Contact Information
Twitter: @MGEMitchell

My main scientific interest is to study water resources in water-limited ecosystems and how climate change can affect water dynamics and water availability in those areas. Because evapotranspiration is the main component of the water balance under water limited conditions, during my PhD my main research objective was to develop regional evapotranspiration models specifically designed for semiarid conditions to achieve an accurate methodology to quantify evapotranspiration at regional scale. Working with physical models forced me to understand those factors controlling the evapotranspiration, and how those factors will be be affected by climate change. To validate evapotranspiration models I learnt and used the Eddy Covariance technique, the most extended methodology to measure CO2, evapotranspiration and energy fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere. After my PhD I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico (US) where I studied the consequences regarding to water resources of widespread piñon mortality events affecting large areas of piñon-juniper woodlands in the Southwestern US. Our results showed that those regional scale tree mortality events can increase the temperature and aridity of those already water stressed areas, with large potential impacts for water dynamics and availability. At UBC I have joined an international project called FuturAgua, focused on the characterization of water resources in a drought-affected area of Costa Rica, Nicoya peninsula, and the development of resilience strategies to drought in a dynamic social-ecological system. Particularly my participation in the project will be focused in improving our understanding of water dynamics in the area and developing a hydrological model to predict the response of local water resources to predicted climatic scenarios. I am very interested in the practical and social aspects of this project, in which research will be applied from the characterization of current water resources to the development of management strategies to improve resilience of this agricultural-based social-ecological system in order to  respond in a time matter to predicted future water scarcity.

Lisa J. Powell is a postdoctoral researcher jointly appointed in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and the Department of Geography at the University of the Fraser Valley.  She works with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm and the Agriburban Research Centre.  She completed a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Studies and Sustainability from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University.  Her work focuses on conflicts and negotiations over agricultural land use; agriburbia; food systems and policy; natural resource extraction and transport (coal, oil); and cultural meanings and interpretations of foods, including pumpkins.


I am a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at IRES, otherwise based in Tromso, North Norway, where I am a Research Scientist with the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima). As a former student with the Norwegian College of Fisheries Science, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, I have an interdisciplinary background, ranging from biochemistry and oceanography to bio economics and governance, but I consider myself a hybrid social scientist. I finished my Master’s degree in fisheries management in 2008 and my PhD in resource management in 2014. The PhD thesis focused on coastal zone planning in Norway.


My main research projects center on coastal zone governance, in particular near shore marine spatial planning and aquaculture management. I coordinate an interdisciplinary project called Coreplan, focusing on governance of coastal ecosystem services through marine spatial planning. I am also a postdoctoral research fellow, funded by the Research Council of Norway. In this project, I study social sustainability in salmon farming in Norway and Canada. As part of this work, I will be visiting the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, from August 2017 – July 2018.






Research Associates

We currently do not have any Research Associates.