Prof Christopher DG Harley (Chris’ Webpage)

Chris HarleyChris is an ecologist who has been at UBC since 2005. He and his students study marine benthic ecosystems, with a focus on the effects of climatic warming, ocean acidification, and other aspects of global change. In his research, he blends experiments and observations in the lab and field to test novel hypotheses. He tries to bring this approach to Biol 326 by structuring labs around unanswered scientific questions, by getting students out into the field as often as possible, and by providing students the opportunity to see where their curiosity will lead them.

Teaching Assistants:

Fiona Beaty (twitter @fionabeaty)


Fiona is a masters student in Chris Harley’s lab. She is interested in how local adaptation to marine environments may impact species responses to climate-linked stressors. For her research, Fiona will study the physiological and ecological responses of two populations of a predatory marine snail to ocean acidification and ocean warming. Fiona is super excited to teach this semester, and pumped to learn about her students and from them! Outside of research she loves to bike, rock climb, read, and explore the city’s music scene.



Natalie Westwood (Natalie’s Instagram)


Natalie is a PhD student working with Diane Srivastava.  Her research focuses on forest fragmentation in the neotropics and its impact on aquatic decomposer communities in treeholes in Costa Rica.  The main focus of her research looks at top-down and bottom-up effects, although she occasionally dabbles in bromeliads.  Natalie is always excited to watch students become fascinated with different parts of ecology and create their own questions.  When she is taking a break, you can find her swimming, doing yoga, badly dancing, or binging on netflix with a bag of chips.

Former Teaching Assistants:

Amelia Hesketh


Amelia is a Master’s student in the Harley lab. In her research, she investigates the potential effects of ocean acidification in the Strait of Georgia. More specifically, Amelia looks at how Crassostrea gigas are directly and indirectly affected by local pH both in the field and the lab. After time spent as an undergraduate at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, Amelia is excited to pass on a love of place-based learning and field experiments while simultaneously encouraging students to become independent researchers through study design and execution. Outside of work, Amelia enjoys cycling, hiking, swimming, baking, knitting, recycling, and (of course) the noble art of small mammal taxidermy.

Sandra Emry

hakai (1).jpg Sandra is an MSc student supervised by Chris. She is broadly interested in how anthropogenic change is affecting coastal communities. Her research is focused on looking at how seaweeds will respond to multiple stressors, and identifying tipping points in individuals and whole communities. Sandra’s favourite part of ecology is getting out and doing field work, rain or shine! Courses that allow students to see firsthand how natural systems work are always the most memorable. Otherwise, you can find Sandra hiking in the mountains, or swimming in the ocean with her best friend and golden retriever, Ruby.

Kat Anderson (Kat’s Webpage, @KatMAnderson)

20130120_094728000_iOSKat is a PhD candidate working with Chris. Her research interests focus on looking at how climate change impacts the relationship between an herbivore (vegetarian snail, crab, urchin, etc) and its food and then how this change in relationship impacts the way entire ecosystems may look in the not too distant future. Kat’s teaching interests focus on getting students feet wet, both figuratively and quite literally. She is drawn to courses that bring students out into the field where they can experience plants and animals in their natural setting. She also has a passion for helping student’s design and execute their very first experiments, helping them become generators of new scientific knowledge. When not doing or teaching science, Kat is an avid knitter, board game enthusiast, and hot yoga addict.

Matt Siegle

matt_salmonMatt is a PhD candidate working with Mary O’Connor and Rick Taylor. His primary research interest is integrating data across different levels of biological organization to answer novel questions. Matt’s PhD research focuses on the effects of heat stress on energy balance and subsequent effects on fitness. His goals as a teacher are to make students better writers and better communicators. When actively avoiding doing science, Matt likes to catch and eat fish, and is an aspiring wood worker.

Megan Vaughan (2014; Megan’s Webpage)


Megan is a MSc candidate in the Harley lab.  Broadly, she is interested in the application of science to conservation and management issues in coastal ecosystems. Her research uses laboratory experiments to test the effects of ocean acidification on species interactions in marine invertebrate communities. She enjoys sharing her passion for marine ecology with students, particularly in the field and in the lab, as well as mentoring students who wish to pursue a career in science. Megan is also an avid scuba diver and all-around nature lover.


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