IOF Student Society

The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) Student Society works to create a stronger sense of community between the various research units in the IOF.

Meetings take place on the first Tuesday of every month in the Hakai Node from 12-1 pm and are open to all students. We are always looking for more students to participate, so feel free to come and share your ideas!

The Student Society plans regular social events throughout the year, including:

  • Alumni Night: Fisheries Centre/IOF alumni of various career paths are invited to speak about their experiences since leaving, followed by round-table discussions.
  • Whistler Ski trip: Students escape to the slopes for a weekend of outdoor fun
  • Fish n’ Chips: An informal seminar where IOF students are invited to give presentations on their current and past work
  • Deep Sea Data Squad (DSDS): This group meets every Wednesday from 10-12pm in the Hakai Node for a co-working session in R with the idea of helping each other better understand R programming and create a supportive coding community
  • Semi-regular events: BBQs, beach clean-ups, movie nights, potlucks, and more!

The society also awards several travel grants for students each year and organizes fundraisers for charity. Check out upcoming events on the News & Upcoming Events tab below.

If you have any ideas, questions or concerns, please contact the IOF Student Society at

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The IOF Student Society’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee has been working to create resources that provide information about EDI policies, initiatives, and support within IOF and across UBC. Here are two documents that the Committee created (with assistance from the Equity and Inclusion Office):

  • The Expectations and Resources for Creating a Respectful Climate: This describes university policies surrounding EDI, guidelines and resources for what students can do if they have a problem and/or need support, and what we, the IOF Student Society JEDI Committee, can do to help, along with our contact info. Importantly, the university has Codes of Conduct (for students, staff, and faculty) that we are all expected to adhere to, whether on or off campus and even when interacting with people who are not associated with the University. We encourage everyone to become familiar with these Codes of Conduct (links are in the document).
  • The second document is an Introduction to Indigenous Relations at UBC, and we hope it will be a valuable resource for everyone, but especially those who are new to BC and/or Canada, and those who are unfamiliar with the University’s efforts for reconciliation (including territorial acknowledgments) and why they are so important and necessary. It includes a list of resources for Indigenous students at UBC, as well as resources for non-Indigenous students who would like to learn more and provide support.

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.

Co-President Julia Fast
Co-President Melanie Warren
Faculty Student Representatives Karly McMullen, Max Miner
Treasurer Jessica Schaub
GSS Representative Taryn Scarff
Faculty Liaison Colette Wabnitz
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Representatives Meaghan Efford
Haley Oleynik
Travel Grant Award Committee Roshni Mangar
Social Lead Kirsten Sora
Communications Officer
Auger-Methe Lab Katie Florko
Ron Togonuv
CORU Lab Ambre Soszynski
Christensen Lab Meaghan Efford
Donner Lab Sara Cannon
Harley Lab TBA
Hunt Lab Jessica Schaub
McAllister Lab TBA
Pakhomov Lab Lian Kwong
Centre for Indigenous Fisheries Kasey Stirling, Kate Mussett
Sea Around Us Lab Rebecca Schijns
Rosenfeld Lab Thomas Smith
FERU/OceanCanada Lab Alli Cutting
MMRU Lab Rhea Storlund
Statistical Ecology Research Group Rowenna Gryba
Project Seahorse Lab Adam Hicks
Post-doc Representative


Adam actually arranged an amusing activity - Everyone else missed out

by Jacob Lerner

“I’d walk through a burning building if there was a golden larch on the other side,” Adam Hicks remarked as he stepped out of his car into a smoky dawn at the Lighting Lakes parking lot.

Such was the attitude in Manning Park last Saturday, with wildfires smouldering just a few kilometres away, when an intrepid group of IOF members set off to summit Frosty Mountain and see its famed larch trees turned yellow in the autumn cool. Having awoken at 5:30AM for the opportunity, nothing was going to stop them.

Following the obligatory trailhead photo, the 12 hikers stumbled up the trail, a single-track goat path switch-backing its way uphill in a relentless grind. Max Miner set the pace, with Jess Schaub a step behind and perhaps a step slow from the 12 pounds of granola bars she carried in her pack. The narrow, overgrown path afforded few opportunities for bladder relief and many, such as Patrick Pata, were forced to soldier on and suffer kidney damage. The track flattened, weaved, and grew steep once again, but the group persevered, eventually bursting through the trees onto the open shoulder of Frosty Mountain.

Here, the larch trees (Larix lyallii) were in peak form. The IOF hikers were treated to an amazing display of colour from the 2,000 year old conifers, the climb clearly worth every step.

At this point, though Anna McLaskey was hopeful for a break in the yellow woods, the group pressed on in search of an elusive plateau which, like a master’s thesis defense, remained consistently just out of reach. As the hikers climbed higher, they were eventually hemmed in between the yellow trees and blue skies with no plateau in sight and nowhere to go but the rocky ridge. In this liminal space they finally took their lunch and enjoyed the spectacular views. Some continued up to the ridge, some relaxed on the alpine rocks, eventually all began the long and dusty journey back down. Veronica Relano and Elsa took the lead, but the dusty trail slowed all progress with its slippery purchase. Only Andreas Novalny, with his army-surplus boots practically gluing him to the trail, avoiding skidding down that dangerous path.

The trip down was long: by the time Iria Garcia-Lorenzo counted the 21,000th rock she stepped on, the conversation in the group had turned metaphysical. If Dana Price regretted getting caught up in a discussion of free will in a deterministic universe, she could take solace knowing she never had a choice. 8 hours, 22 km, and 1,300 meters later, the hikers were back where they started. 11/12 IOF members would recommend (Sarah Hyntka was still up there when we took the poll but I think she made it down).

On Saturday, September 17th, a group of IOF and zoology students joined Ocean Wise’s shoreline clean up event for International Coastal Cleanup Day! We met at Sunset Beach at 9am and enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather while picking up litter from the beach alongside many community members. This was part of a larger international effort that amounted to almost 500 kilograms of trash being collected from beaches across the coasts North America on September 17th. The event was a fun way to support efforts to keep our shorelines and oceans clean!

2022 Intertidal tour with Dr. Chris Harley

story and photos by Melanie Warren

On a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in September where might you expect to find a group of UBC Ocean and Fisheries community members? Working on their tan lines at wreck beach? Nursing a hangover courtesy of Koerner’s pub the night before? With their heads stuffed into a pile of research papers stacked a mile high???

More like knee deep in mud and saltwater! Okay…. maybe not knee deep, it was low tide after all.

On Saturday, September 10th, a group of IOF students, postdocs, faculty, and staff donned their best rubber boots and met coastal ecology expert and PI at UBC, Dr. Christopher Harley, to take advantage of the receding waters and tour one of the intertidal zones at Stanley Park. The day started off with an encouraging piece of advice on navigating intertidal zones: “if you’re falling, fall on the algae it makes for a much softer landing,” the man speaks from experience. Luckily everyone made it out unscathed, even from the intimidating clutches of some massive red rock crabs.

For over an hour, rocks were overturned, algae were examined and animals too slow to get away were disturbed.

I’m sorry, sea star, you evolved 15,000 tube feet but you couldn’t run away from some bipedal mammals?! (No animals were harmed in the making of this day)

All was of course done in the name of science! Dr. Harley shared his extensive knowledge of coastal ecology, past and current research and fun tidbits of all the amazing marine life found.

In a weird conclusion to the day Dr. Harley made everyone sniff a leather sea star (which of course everyone did without hesitation; biologists, am I right?) It turns out they smell like garlic, who knew?!


A huge thank you to Katherine Came and Chris Harley for organizing such a fun and informative day!
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The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) Student Society works to create a stronger sense of community between the various research units in the IOF. Meetings take place on the first Tuesday of every month in the Hakai Node from 12-1 pm and are open to all students. We are always looking for more […]

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IOFSS Whale Watch Vancouver Trip
Orcas, sea lions, grey whales, oh my! On April 23rd  (a warm and sunny day in Vancouver for once) a group of 40+ eager biologists from UBC set off on a whale watching adventure courtesy of Whale Watch Vancouver. Spirits were high as the biologists loaded the boat, acquired their sea legs and scanned the horizon for any signs of dorsal fins. After over an hour of searching, the hope to see BC’s most iconic species began to dwindle. But not all was lost! The views were incredible and the gentle rocking of the waves allowed for some much-needed R&R. There would always be a next time for whales!

Much to everyone’s delight however, the tides soon changed, and a dramatic U-turn by Captain Rich once again had everyone scanning the surface of the sea. While driving back (3 miles from where the tour started...) not one but two separate transient orca groups graced the crew with their presence!

After admiring their playful antics (from a respectable 200m distance of course) the boat set off again in search of more. A spout was soon spotted and the boat's lovely naturalist Joan introduced the group to a grey whale lazily feeding in the waters outside of UBC (rumor has it, it's visible from campus so go grab a pair of binoculars!).

Sadly, the tour was coming to an end and it was time to head back to port. But not without one last stop past a sea lion colony which are always just #mood.

After contemplating how ~800lbs of blubber with four tiny flippers can haul themselves to the top of a rocky jetty, it was time to let the pinnipeds bask in the sun while the humans returned to land. The adventure didn’t end there however because no trip can really be complete without a stop for delicious snacks.

What better way to end the day then a box of assorted mini donuts from the Outpost Mini Donut Company (the best donuts in all of Richmond!). How could you resist?

A massive thank you to Julia Adelsheim, Kristen Sora, Polina Orlov and the whole IOF Student Society for organizing such an amazing event!

By Melanie Warren

IOFSS Whale Watch Vancouver Trip

Photo courtesy of the IOF student Society

Photo Courtesy of the IOF Student Society

Photo courtesy of the IOF student Society

Photo Courtesy of the IOF Student Society

Photo courtesy of the IOF student Society

Photo Courtesy of the IOF Student Society

IOFSS Ski Trip & Snowshoeing

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.

Photo: Rebecca Schjins.

IOFSS Chinese New Year Lunch

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.

IOFSS Fish Farm Trip

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.

Photo courtesy of the IOF Student Society.