Dayna Szule – Finance Clerk

Szule_Dayna_picAs the Finance Clerk for the Sea Around Us, Dayna’s role includes setting up project grants, reconciling monthly ledgers, monitoring all grant expenditures and preparing external and internal financial grant reports. Previously with the UBC Botanical Garden, Dayna joined the Sea Around Us in July 2014 to focus and develop a financial skill set within the University. In her spare time, she can be found identifying plant species in a forest somewhere or playing golf or football.


Kyrstn Zylich – Research Assistant

Kyrstn completed her BSc in Biology at the University of British Columbia. Although unsure of where her degree would take her, the ocean had always held a specially place in her heart. Growing up only an hour away from Vancouver allowed for numerous trips to the aquarium which helped instill a curiosity of marine organisms. As well, she has enjoying several family vacations to Hawaii which included snorkeling with turtles and other incredible sea life. After joining the Sea Around Us Project as a volunteer in February of 2011 she completed her first reconstruction on the island of Tokelau. Once joining the project fulltime as a staff member later that year, she has continued working on catch reconstructions, focusing mainly on South Pacific island countries.

Ar’ash Tavakolie – Senior Web Developer

arash_bioAr’ash is a software developer, and comes from an engineering/Artificial Intelligence background. He has been designing and developing .NET based solutions for about eight years.

Ar’ash designs and maintains the Sea Around Us suite of web applications and the related databases. He is currently busy working on ‘SwordFish (SF)’, which will replace the core components of legacy code with a multi-tiered architecture [DataWarehouse + AnalysisEngine + ClientModules]. He is developing SF to make the web/databases applications more agile, extensible and also lower the maintenance costs. SwordFish is based on OLAP/BI, C#, and .NET technologies. SF prototypes showed that MDX querying language is closer to the domain and can reduce the lines of codes by 80%.

Ar’ash is also an avid tea fan and likes reading books. Currently his favorite novelist is Haruki Murakami and his favorite programming gargoyle/guru/writer is Martin Fowler “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” Ar’ash regularly and enthusiastically baffles project staff during meetings by trumping the biologists’ ability to talk in technical jargon.

Dirk Zeller – Senior Scientist and Executive Director

B.Sc. Hons. (James Cook University)
Ph.D. (James Cook University)

Dr Dirk Zeller is the Senior Scientist and Executive Director of the Sea Around Us ( He directs research activities and co-directs strategic research and funding decisions with the Project Principle Investigator, Prof. Daniel Pauly. Dirk leads research on global catch reconstructions and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, and engages in research on coral reef fisheries , ocean governance and fisheries policy. He collaborates closely with the Fisheries Economics Research Unit on issues in resource economics, with the Changing Ocean Research Unit on issues of climate change and fisheries, and with the UBC Faculty of Law on issues related to international maritime boundary law and the UN Law of the Sea Convention.

Dirk has over 250 scientific contributions, and published both in the primary literature (Nature, Science, PLoS ONE, Marine Policy, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Environmental Health Perspectives etc.) and in dedicated book chapters and research reports. Dirk was co-awarded the 2012 UBC Innovative Dissemination of Research Award and the 2011 Ecological Society of
America Sustainability Science Award. He collaborates with scientists in Australia, Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean and Pacific. He represents the Sea Around Us at conferences and workshops throughout the world.

Dirk has a background in tropical marine biology and fisheries ecology from James Cook University, Australia, and has professional interests in sustainability, strategic and global policy developments and resource economics, as well as marine reserves and coral reef ecology.

Click here for a full list of Dirk’s publications, including PDF’s