Our Building

AERL Building

The IOF is housed in the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL), an $8.9-million facility offering 55,000 square feet for research, collaboration and teaching. A four-storey open atrium connects interdisciplinary research groups throughout the building. Adjacent to the atrium, social spaces promote a sense of community and encourage interaction between students, faculty and staff. Large public rooms on the ground floor provide a welcoming environment for academic and social events. The upper floors house offices, digital laboratories and a variety of meeting spaces, such as the Hakai Node.

Pacific white-sided dolphin skeletons from the Marine Mammal Research Unit skeleton exhibit (left) and the Hakai Node (right).


The AERL building is certified LEED Gold and received the 2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal in Architecture for its sustainable design. The four-storey glass atrium brings daylight deep into the interior and pulls air into the building, limiting our dependency on conventional ventilation, air conditioning and artificial lighting.

Marine Mammal Skeleton Installations

Created in partnership between Petro-Canada and the Marine Mammal Research Unit (MMRU) at the University of British Columbia, this exhibit promotes a public understanding of marine mammals the the systems in which they live. A plaque describing the project is located on a pillar on the first floor.

Iinang Xaadee, or Herring People

Artist: April White.

The Iinang Xaadee, or the Herring People Series, can be seen in the Hakai Node on the second floor of AERL. The series was a collaboration between the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and Haida artist April White.

Learn more about the meaning behind the paintings here >>>

Associated Buildings

Through their affiliations with IOF partners, a number of our staff and students also work at other facilities on- and off-campus, depending on their lab and research interests. Some of our students and faculty have had the opportunity to conduct research at the Hakai Institute‘s facilities on Quadra Island and Calvert Island. Researchers also conduct their work at other locations like labs in the Earth Sciences Building (ESB) and at the wet lab at AERL.

To see where else members of our IOF community work, please visit the respective lab or research unit pages.

AERL Wet Lab. Credit: Andrew Trites / MMRU.

AERL Wet Lab. Credit: Andrew Trites / MMRU.












Building Accessibility

The AERL building is equipped with an elevator which can move to the first, second, third and fourth floors.

The parking lots closest to AERL that have accessibility parking are:

  • AERL Parking Lot; there is a parking lot behind the AERL building, which is good for shorter term parking and has only one accessible parking spot.
  • Michael Smith Lot; street parking located in front of the Michael Smith Laboratories near the UBC Bookstore. This is good for shorter term parking and only has one accessible parking spot.
  • Health Sciences Parkade; Parkade located at corner of East Mall and Health Sciences with multiple accessibility parking spots. Best for longer term parking. Exit at southwest corner for easy access between buildings to AERL (follow signs to Beaty Biodiversity Museum).

UBC also offers an Accessibility Shuttle across campus by reservation, with a shuttle stop location outside of the Earth Sciences building on Main Mall located across from the AERL building. See here for more information.

Should you have any questions about the accessibility of certain rooms in AERL, please contact Scott Finestone, Manager Finance and Facilities, at s.finestone@oceans.ubc.ca.