Villy Christensen, FRSC

Ph.D. (Copenhagen), Cand. scient. (Copenhagen)

Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC

Research Fellow, Ecopath International Initiative, Barcelona, Spain


  • Email: v.christensen {at}

  • Office phone +1 (604) 822 5751

  • Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia, #326-2202 Main Mall, Vancouver BC, Canada V6T 1Z4


  • I teach the (3 credit) UBC graduate ecosystem modeling course Fish 501 annually, currently in the winter semester (January through April, 2 x 2 hours per week)

  • I co-teach the (6 credit) graduate course Fish 520

  • I have previously assisted on the Ocean Leaders course (3 credit) Fish 507

  • I regularly teach ecosystem modeling outside UBC, see or contact me.

  • To arrange courses elsewhere: contact me.

Notable activities:

  • 2019-23: PI for Cumulative Effects Monitoring Initiative Project with Tsleil-Waututh Nation

  • 2019-23: Project with OceanWise on competition between marine mammals with focus on SRKW

  • 2019-22: Co-PI on DFO/NSERC Whale Science for Tomorrow Project ($1M)

  • 2017-22: PI for Pacific Salmon Foundation modelling and synthesis project

  • 2016-18: Leading development of a LOI for CoastNet, a Canadian Fisheries Research Network submitted to the 2019 Networks of Centres of Excellence call.

  • 2016-22: Core faculty for CREATE Ocean Leaders

  • 2015: Description of global ocean model published

  • 2014--: Developed global spatial ecosystem model in connection with FishMIP for use by IPCC and IPBES

  • 2014: Published study of global fish biomass trends

  • 2014: Published new habitat capacity model, since used for numerous studies

  • 2014: Published study that estimates the Peruvian fisheries sector contribution to GDP

  • 2012: First iteration of the the first food web model of life in the global ocean presented at AAAS. Read about this in ScienceLive and listen to Science podcast. Includes estimates of global fish biomass and the first appearance of the Oracle

  • 2011: A study presented at AAAS 2011 found that the world’s predatory fish have declined by 2/3 over the last hundred years while prey fish have more than doubled. Listen to Science podcast. A previous, related study was referenced in an editorial in The New York Times

  • 2010-14: Initiated and led the “Nereus – Predicting the Future Ocean” program, which develops methodologies for global assessments of fish populations, evaluate alternative future scenarios, and point to how sustainable policies can be implemented.

  • 2009: Co-author of study describing the contribution of fish to the marine inorganic carbon cycle (Science 2009) providing a first estimate of global fish biomass

  • 2008-: Integration of ecological and value modeling: value chain approach integration in EwE

  • 2006- Leading development of new EwE6, including coupling to 3D-gaming engine for visualization, design of decision-support system, single-player game, and videos (Chesapeake)

  • 2004- Developing methodology for database-driven ecosystem model generation; applied to all the world’s large marine ecosystems (Christensen et al. 2008, 2009)

  • 2001-3: Developed methodology for quantification of how fish biomass and exploitation pressure has changed regionally; applied to the North Atlantic, West Africa, and the South China Sea (Christensen et al., 2003, 2004, 2003)

  • 1998: Co-author of “fishing down marine food webs” (Pauly et al. 1998)

  • 1996: First published description of “fishing down the food web” concept (Christensen 1996)

  • 1995: Co-author of “primary production required to sustain global fisheries” (Pauly & Christensen 1995)

  • 1994: First quantification of ecosystem maturity (Christensen 1994), since then applied and elaborated further by many researchers

  • 1993: Published description of how to calculate ‘primary production required for fisheries’ (Christensen & Pauly 1993)

  • 1992: Published description of Ecopath II (Christensen & Pauly 1992). This paper was recognized by Ecological Modelling in Dec 2008 as the third-most cited paper in the journal’s history (out of 5020)

  • 1991: Evaluation of fisheries potential for tropical and subtropical areas globally (Christensen et al. 1991)

  • 1990: Project leader for Ecopath development since 1990

Graduate student activities:

  • Very limited and requires funding availability

Post-Doctoral fellowship:

  • None at present

Thesis/fellowship topics related to ecosystem modeling and management are of interest, but contingent on funding.