Robin Waples

Member-At-Large for Hall of Excellence Committee

I took a circuitous route to fisheries biology, getting a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University before eventually doing my Ph.D. in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Intervening years were mostly spent on or under the ocean in tropical places.  Early research involved taxonomy and population genetics of marine shorefishes, but salmon became a bigger focus after I moved to Seattle.  For over a decade, I headed a group charged with developing the scientific basis for listing determinations and recovery planning for Pacific salmon under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  I also directed our Center’s Internal Grants Program, which has provided over $2 million in seed-money grants for innovative research projects, especially by junior scientists.

A major theme of my research is applying evolutionary and ecological principles to real-world problems in conservation and management.  Often this involves adapting standard population genetics models to better comport with life histories of actual species.  Particular interests include: identifying conservation units; population genetics of high-gene-flow species; estimating effective population size; genetic interactions of captive and wild populations; genetic mixture/admixture analysis; evolutionary responses of natural populations to human-altered environments; interaction of population demography and evolutionary processes in species with overlapping generations.