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Research Associate (Ocean Litter Project)/ Principal Investigator (Ocean Pollution Research Unit), University of British Columbia

Dr. Juan José Alava is originally from Ecuador and came to Canada in 2005. He is a marine eco-toxicologist/environmental toxicologist and biologist. Juan Jose is a research associate at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) at University of British Columbia), where he is co-leading the Nippon Foundation-Ocean Litter Project. He is the founder and Principal Investigator of the Ocean Pollution Research Unit (OPRU) at IOF, UBC, and serve as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM School, Faculty of Environment), Simon Fraser University. Juan Jose volunteers as the Science Director for the Fundación Ecuatoriana para El Estudio de Mamíferos Marinos/ Ecuadorian Foundation for the Study of Marine Mammals (FEMM) to support and advanced research and conservation of marine mammals in Ecuador. His current research envisions the assessment of the 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 to assess POPs and mercury in marine mammals (sea lions and fur seals from Galapagos Islands and coastal bottlenose dolphins of the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador) and Antarctic seabirds, as well as the impact of fisheries interactions on marine mammals and bycatch mitigation strategies. With close to 100 publications (original and review papers, chapters, reports, and an edited book), Juan Jose was selected as an active member of the Academia of Sciences of Ecuador in 2014.


  • 2018–present
    Research Associate, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia
  • 2011–2019
    Adjunct Professor, School of Resoruce and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University


Member of Academia of Sciences of Ecuador