Andrea Frommel, Assistant Professor (she/her)

Chair in Sustainable Aquaculture and the director of our professional Graduate Certificate in Aquaculture.

I have a BSc in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz, a MSc from the University of Southern Denmark and a PhD from the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Germany. I’ve traveled the world doing all things fishy before arriving in beautiful British Columbia. UBC is a fantastic place to do ocean research, with its breathtaking nature and marine biodiversity. My research bridges climate change, fisheries and aquaculture, with the focus on gathering physiological data that can be integrated into adaptive management practices for commercial fish.

Vandana Gokul Das, PhD student (she/her)

My area of research focuses on the impact of climate change on commercially significant fishes and their adaptation potential. Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by the interaction of climate and biodiversity. This motivated me to pursue my BSc and MSc Integrated degree in Climate Change Adaptation from Kerala Agricultural University, India, with a focus on the influence of climate change in animal science. I also gained experience in fisheries science and developed my passion to find the hidden intricacies of climate change in the fisheries sector. Through my research, I want to deepen my knowledge on the vulnerability of selected fishes during embryonic and juvenile stages to different climatic stressors and disseminate management and conservation practices through a holistic approach.

Leah Wessler, MSc student (she/her)

My current research focuses on interactions between seaweed and shellfish in aquaculture. I’ll be monitoring how dulse reduces effects of ocean acidification on young bivalves. The Aquaculture and Climate Change Lab provides a wonderful space to examine how marine species can be allies in combating climate change and fulfilling the global need for nutritious, sustainable, and accessible food. I’m from the ancestral lands of Takelma, Shasta, Klamath Basin, Cow Creek Umpqua, Modoc, and Latgawa Peoples, also known as Oregon, USA. I received a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in Organismal Biology and Ecology, and completed minors in Spanish and Southwest Studies that have facilitated looking at the world through multiple lenses. I am interested in my role as a settler-descendant in the integration of Indigenous and Western science to bring food sovereignty and climate change solutions to coastal communities.

Benjamin Niemann, MSc student (he/they)

My research focuses on the potential impacts of diet inclusion with fulvic acid on the gut microbiota and immune response of different aquaculture fish species. Growing up in Michigan in the US, I was always surrounded by water and loved aquariums from a very young age. During my time as an undergrad at the University of Michigan, I realized I wanted to study host-symbiont interactions in aquatic species and how these interactions can influence host resilience and health. Professor Frommel, UBC, and DFO have allowed me to combine those interests in the wonderful city of Vancouver. It has always been my dream to work with and study fish, and I am glad to finally have the opportunity to do just that!


Zihan Li, Honors student (2022)

My honors thesis focuses on the effect of dietary humic substance additives on the growth of juvenile Chinook salmon. Originally from Beijing, China, I’ve always been fascinated with marine life through aquarium visits and documentaries. I’m very fortunate to have been able to explore my interests in my Applied Animal Biology major at UBC through companion animal clinical work, wild water bird dissections, and this unique fish nutrition project at DFO.

Zihan is currently studying veterinary medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.