President’s Excellence Chair in Biodiversity Studies

The most remarkable feature of our planet is the diversity of its life forms, which include about 1.8 million described species and up to 30 million species that remain to be discovered.

This biological diversity is key to a healthy and productive world, offering services ranging from water and air purification to nutrient cycling and carbon uptake for the provisioning of food, fibre and medicine.

Understanding biodiversity – meaning its origins, maintenance, interactions and temporal and geographic distributions – is a major focus of biologists and has been so for the past two centuries. However, with the increasing pace of extinction due to anthropogenic impacts – and a further acceleration of extinction rates anticipated under climate change – this focus has expanded to include threats to biodiversity and the development of strategies to mitigate these threats. 

UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre (BRC) is home to one of the world’s leading groups currently studying biodiversity, global change impacts and the potential solutions to challenges associated with these changes. Members of the BRC employ a diverse array of approaches, ranging from theory to ecology and genomics, in order to study organisms across all of the domains of life, as well as address real world issues in ocean and fisheries, forestry and agricultural, and microbial systems. 

Uniting scientists with different disciplinary perspectives and expertise offers the best hope for solutions to large-scale problems.


Dr. Claire Kremen has commenced her appointment as the UBC President’s Excellence Chair in Biodiversity Studies. Joining the university as a Professor, Dr. Kremen holds a joint appointment in UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and the Department of Zoology. She was previously a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley, as well as Faculty Director of the Berkeley Food Institute.

As a conservation biologist, Dr. Kremen’s applied research advances the fields of ecology, biodiversity and agriculture, seeking mechanisms to prevent or reverse the loss of biodiversity – one of the greatest environmental challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Dr. Kremen’s lab at UBC will investigate how to create sustainable landscapes that benefit both people and nature. She will also develop a new initiative in Conservation Science at UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre that will promote new research on pressing conservation problems and provide a platform to train the next generation of conservation practitioners and leaders. 

Dr. Kremen holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in Zoology from Duke University, and her research has been published in highly-regarded journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - Series B, Ecology Letters and Conservation Biology.

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