Juan José Alava

Research Associate
Nippon Foundation-Ocean Litter Project

Honorary Research Associate
NF – UBC Nereus Program

Degrees:
PhD (School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada), 2011.
MEERM (School of Ocean, Earth and Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA), 2004.
BSc. Biology (Biology School, Universidad de Guayaquil, Ecuador), 1996.
Certificate, University Teaching and Learning for Graduate Students, (Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University), 2009.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Changing Ocean Research Unit), Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (MITACS, OceanCanada Partnership, Ocean Wise), Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Contact Information

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia
AERL, 2202 Main Mall, V6T 1Z4
Vancouver, British Columbia
Email: j.alava@oceans.ubc.ca
Phone: (604) 317-6674

Website:
Research Gate
Google Scholar

Social Media
LinkedIn
Twitter: @pinnipedo

Research Interests

My research interests and fields of academic expertise are broad, including marine eco-toxicology, ocean conservation and pollution, environmental toxicology and chemistry, food web bioaccumulation modeling of pollutants (Bioaccumulation Science), ocean pollution by plastics/microplastics, sea turtles and marine mammals’ eco-toxicology, marine ecology, conservation biology, tropical biodiversity and ecology, fishery science and management, impact of climate change and acidification in marine organisms and fisheries, population dynamics and conservation of marine mammals, biology and conservation of marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles, field ornithology; aquatic microbiology; eco-toxicological risk assessment; environmental impact assessments and environmental policy, public health, tropical parasitology and environmental/conservation medicine.

Biography

Dr. Juan José Alava is originally from Ecuador and came to Canada in 2005. He is a marine eco-toxicologist and conservation biologist and his current research envisions the assessment of the pollution footprint and hazard risk of plastics and microplastic in the global oceans and food-web bioaccumulation modelling of microplastics in marine and coastal food webs. He also conducts food-web modelling of pollutants’ bioaccumulation (persistent organic pollutants-POPs and mercury) under the interaction with climate change to understand the combined impact of anthropogenic pollution in the ocean ecosystems and marine food webs with implication for policy. Additional research fronts have included fieldwork for the collection of samples to assess POPs and mercury in marine mammals (sea lions and fur seals form Galapagos Islands and coastal bottlenose dolphins of the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador), as well as the impact of fisheries interactions on marine mammals and bycatch mitigation strategies.

Currently, Dr. Alava co-lead the Nippon Foundation-Ocean Litter Project at Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) at UBC, in close collaboration with Dr. Yoshitaka Ota (PI at University of Washington). He is also co-leading research project to assess, for first time, POPs, mercury and diseases in bottlenose dolphins of the Guayaquil Gulf in close conjunction with Fundación Ecuatoriana para El Estudio de Mamíferos Marinos/ Ecuadorian Foundation for the Study of Marine Mammals (FEMM), Superior Polytechnic School (ESPOL) and colleagues from USA (i.e. in close collaboration with Dr. Patricia Fair); and microplastic assessment in water, sediments and mussels of the Gulf of Guayaquil with colleagues from ESPOL. He is involved and co-supervises a study of microplastics in seawater, zooplankton and larval herring in Baynes Sound and Denman Island (Vancouver Island, BC) with Dr. Brian Hunt (IOF, UBC), and the support of the Association of Denman Islands Marine Stewards (ADIMS) and K’omoks First Nations. Dr. Alava collaborated with colleagues from Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) in the first assessment of mercury in yellowfin tuna collected in waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and off Ecuador, as well. He is part of an ongoing research project with WWF-Germany (Fish Forward 2) to pursue the development and establishment of climate change adaptation strategies in artisanal fisheries in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in collaboration National Institute of Fisheries-INP (Dr. Nikita Gaibor, Ecuador), Charles Darwin Foundation (Dr. María José Barragán, Galapagos-Ecuador), Changing Ocean Research Unit (Dr. William Cheung, IOF, UBC) and Agrocampus Ouest (Dr. Didier Gascuel and Lea Monnier, France).

Selected Publications:

Alava, J.J., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Sumaila, R., Cheung, W.W.L. 2018. Projected amplification of food web bioaccumulation of MeHg and PCBs under climate change in the Northeastern Pacific. Scientific Reports 8:13460 DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-31824-5

Calle, P., Monserrate, L., Medina, F., Calle Delgado, Tirapé, A., Montiel, M., Ruiz Barzola, M., Alvarado-Cadena, O., Dominguez, G.A., and Alava, J.J .2018. Mercury assessment, macrobenthos diversity and environmental quality conditions in the Salado Estuary (Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador) impacted by anthropogenic influences. Marine Pollution Bulletin 136: 365–373.

Alava JJ, Paladines F. 2017. Illegal fishing on the Galapagos high seas. Science 357(6358): 1362.

Domingo, T., Starosta, K., Chester, A., Williams, J., Lehnert, S.J., Gantner, N., Alava, J.J. 2018. Fukushima-derived radioactivity measurements in Pacific salmon and soil samples collected in British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Chemistry 96: 124–131

Alava, J.J., Cheung, W. W.L., Ross, P. S. and Sumaila, R. U. 2017. Climate change-contaminant interactions in marine food webs: Towards a conceptual framework. Global Change Biology 23:3984 -4001. doi:10.1111/gcb.13667

Alava, J.J., Calle, N. 2017. Pipelines imperil Canada’s ecosystem. Science 6321(355):140-141.

Alava, J.J., Tatar, B., Barragán, M. J., Castro, C., Rosero, P., Denkinger, J., Jiménez, P.J., Carvajal, R., Samaniego, J. 2017. Mitigating Cetacean Bycatch in Coastal Ecuador: Governance Challenges for Small-scale Fisheries. Marine Policy In press. DOI 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.05.025

Alava, J.J. and Gobas, F.A. 2016. Modeling 137 Cs bioaccumulation in the salmon–resident killer whale food web of the Northeastern Pacific following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Science of the Total Environment 544:56-67.

Alava, J.J., Ross, P.S., Gobas, A.P.C. 2016. Food web bioaccumulation model for resident killer whales from the Northeastern Pacific Ocean as a tool for the derivation of PBDE-Sediment Quality Guidelines. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 70(1): 155-168 DOI: 10.1007/s00244-015-0215-y

Calle, P., Alvarado, O.; Monserrate, L.; Cevallos, J.M.; Calle, N.L., Alava, J.J. 2015. Mercury accumulation in sediments and seabird feathers from the Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Pollution Bulletin 91: 410-417.

Alava, J.J. and Silberg, J.N. 2014. Delisted whales good news for pipeline. Science 345 (6194): 278-279

Schiller, L.L.; Alava, J.J., Grove, J.S.; Reck, G., Pauly, D. 2014. The Demise of Darwin’s Fishes: Evidence of fishing down and illegal shark finning in the Galápagos Islands. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 24(3) doi: 10.1002/aqc.2458

Alava, J.J., Calle, N. 2013. Drilling Plans Endanger Yasuni’s Biodiversity. Science 342: 931-932.

Hickie, B.E., Cadieux, M., Riehl, K., Bossart, G.D., Alava, J.J., Fair, P.A. 2013. Modeling PCB-Bioaccumulation in the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus): Estimating a Dietary Threshold Concentration. Environmental Science and Technology 47: 12314-12324.

Alava, J.J., Ross, P.S., Lachmuth, C.L., Ford, J.K.B., Hickie, B.E., Gobas, F.A.P.C. 2012. Habitat-based PCB Environmental Quality Criteria for the Protection of Endangered Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). Environmental Science and Technology 46: 12655−12663.

Alava, J.J. 2012. Cetaceans: Monitor sea pollution to stop strandings. Nature 486:323.

Páez-Rosas, D., David Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Alava, J.J., Palacios, D.M. 2012. Stable isotopes indicate differing foraging strategies in two sympatric otariids of the Galapagos Islands. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 424-425:44-52.

Alava, J.J., Lambourn, D., Olesiuk, P., Lance, M., Jeffries,S., Gobas, F.A.P.C., Ross, P. S. 2012. PBDE flame retardants and PCBs in migrating Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada. Chemosphere. 88:855-864.

Alava, J.J., Barragan, M.J., Denkinger, J. 2012. Assessing the impact of bycatch on Ecuadorian humpback whale breeding stock: a Review with Management Recommendations. Ocean and Coastal Management 57: 34-43

Alava, J.J., Keller, J.M., Wyneken, J., Crowder, L., Scott, G.I. Kucklick, J.R. 2011. Geographical variation of Persistent Organic Pollutants in eggs of threatened loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from Southeastern USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30: 1677-1688.

Alava, J.J.; Ross, P. S.; Ikonomou, M. G., Cruz, M., Jimenez-Uzcategui, G., Salazar, S., Costa, D. P., Villegas-Amtmann, S., Howorth, P., Gobas, F.A.P.C. 2011. DDT in endangered Galapagos Sea Lions (Zalophus wollebaeki). Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 660-671

Alava, J.J.; Salazar, S., Cruz, M., Jimenez-Uzcategui, G., Villegas-Amtmann, S., Paez-Rosas, D., Costa, D. P., Ross, P. S.; Ikonomou, M. G., Gobas, F.A.P.C. 2011. DDT Strikes Back: Galapagos Sea Lions Face Increasing Health Risks. Ambio 40:425-430

Alava, J.J.; Ikonomou, M. G., Ross, P. S.; Costa, D. P., Salazar, S., Aurioles-Gamboa, D., Gobas, F.A.P.C. 2009. Polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28 (11): 2271-2282.

Dominguez, G. and Alava, JJ. 2009. Observing External Clinical Signs of the Idiopathic Myonecrosis (IMN) during Production of Pacific White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) in Brazil. World Aquaculture 40(1): 12-15.

Alava, J.J., Keller, J.M., Kucklick, J.R., Wyneken, J., Crowder, L., Scott, G.I. 2006. Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) egg yolk concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and lipid increase during the last stage of embryonic development. Science of the Total Environment 367:170–181.

Keller, J., Alava, J.J., Aleksa, K., Young, B., Kucklick, J.R., 2005. Spatial trends of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in loggerhead sea turtle eggs and plasma. Organohalogen Compounds 67: 610–611

Teaching:

  • Sessional Instructor: Ecology and Conservation of Coastal British Columbia (REM 375), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment Simon Fraser University (Spring 2015).
  • Instructor: Environmental Chemistry (ENSC 306), School of Environment and Sustainability, Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, Royal Roads University (12 February 2013 − 31 July 2013)
  • Sessional Instructor: Environmental Science and Global Changes. China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), Management for Environment & Development Training Program. International Development/SFU International & Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University (Summer 2013)
  • Sessional Instructor: Applied Ecology and Sustainable Environments (REM 311), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment Simon Fraser University (Spring 2012/Spring 2013)
  • Sessional Instructor: Chemical Pesticides and the Environment (BISC 432), Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University (Fall 2012
  • Sessional Instructor: Global Changes (REM 100), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (Fall 2011)
  • Sessional Instructor: Environmental Science, Pollution and Global Changes. China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), Management for Environment & Development Training Program, International Development/SFU International & Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University (Summer 2011)
  • External Teaching Assistant: General Biology, (BISC 102), Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University (Summer 2011)
  • Co-Instructor/Advisor for direct studies course (ENV 489) at the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (Spring 2011)
  • Teaching Assistant: Environmental Risk Assessment and Management of Hazardous Substances, (REM 445), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (Fall 2009)
  • Sessional Instructor: Population Dynamics (BISC 407), Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University (Spring 2007)
  • Teaching Assistant: Global Changes (REM 100), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (Fall 2006/Spring 2007)
  • Teacher of Zoology and Ecological Projects: Latin-American Christian University, School of Ecotourism, Guayaquil, Ecuador (August 2000-August 2001)

Academic Supervision and Mentoring

Supervisor for PhD Thesis Research Proposal Comprehensive Examination “Sorption of trace elements (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd and Hg) by microplastics within intertidal sediments; a laboratory, field and modeling approach” by Tamara Kazmiruk, Dr. Leah Bendell (School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (31 May 2019)

Supervisor for Master (MRM) research project defense “Sources, spatial variability and uptake of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Southern Resident killer whales” by Robyn Pearce (Senior Supervisor, Dr. Frank Gobas), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (27 August 2018)

External Examiner Master thesis defense “Bioaccumulation of Contaminants in the Food-chain of the Coopers Hawk” by Kate Fremlin (Supervisors, Dr. Frank Gobas, and John Elliott), Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University (24 August 2018).

Internal-External Examiner, PhD Thesis Proposal Defense/Comprehensive Examination, “Drawing on multiple knowledge systems to revive Coast Salish clam gardens as living eco-cultural seascapes: fostering social-ecological resilience and Indigenous resurgence” by Skye Augustine (Supervisor, Dr. Anne Salomon), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (11 April 2018).

Committee Chair for Master (MRM) research project defense, “Economics of Biological Invasion: Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) and Livestock Production in British Columbia” by Rupananda Widanage (Supervisor, Dr. Duncan Knowler), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (07 March 2012)

Committee Chair for Master (MRM) research project defense, “Developing Ecosystem Based Quality Guidelines in British Columbia” by Jennifer Arblaster (Supervisor, Dr. Frank A. P. C. Gobas), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (06 January 2012)

Co-Instructor/Advisor of direct studies course (ENV 489) for Melissa Heft (Undergraduate Research Project: Does Continentalization Erode the Resilience of the Galapagos Species?) at the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (Spring 2011)

Committee Chair for Master (MRM) research project defense, “An in vitro method for obtaining biotransformation rates for benzo[a]pyrene and diethyl phthalate using the Sprague-Dawley rat small intestine” by Stephanie Ko (Supervisor, Dr. Frank A. P. C. Gobas), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (10 December 2010)

Committee Chair for Master (MRM) research project defense, “Development and application of a Methodology for the Derivation of Sediment Quality Criteria in British Columbia, Canada” by Molly Brewis (Supervisor, Dr. Frank A. P. C. Gobas), School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University (6 August 2010).