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Carl Walters

Carl Walters
Born Carl John Walters
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Residence Vancouver, Canada
Fields Zoology, fisheries science, population ecology
Institutions Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia
Alma mater Colorado State University
Doctoral advisor Robert E. Vincent
Known for Fisheries stock assessments, adaptive management, ecosystem modeling
Influences Crawford Stanley "Buzz" Holling, James Kitchell
Influenced S.J.D. Martell and many other Masters and Ph.D. students
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1998), Mote Eminent Scholar at FSU (2000-2001), Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation (2001), Murray A. Newman Award for Marine Conservation (2005), Volvo Environment Prize (2006), American Fisheries Society Award of Excellence (2006), Timothy R. Parsons Medal (2007)

Carl Walters is an American-born biologist known for his work involving fisheries stock assessments, the adaptive management concept, and ecosystem modeling.[1] Walters has been a professor of Zoology and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia since 1969.[2] He is one of the main developers of the computer simulation program Ecosim [3] and is involved in the Sea Around Us Project [4] established by Daniel Pauly, the Quantitative Modeling Group, and the Lenfest Oceans Future Project.[5] His most recent work focuses on how to adjust human behaviors in environments that are full of uncertainty.[1] He is a recent recipient of the Volvo Environment Prize (2006).[6]


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Interests 3
  • Contributions 4
    • Foraging Arena Theory 4.1
    • Adaptive management 4.2
  • Selected publications 5
  • Awards 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Carl Walters graduated from Bakersfield College with an A.A in 1963 and continued to Humboldt State College to graduate with a B.S. in 1965. After Walters graduated, he went to Colorado State University to study the "Distribution and production of midges in an alpine lake" under the advisement of Dr. Robert E. Vincent. After obtaining his M.S. in 1967, Walters stayed on with R.E. Vincent to get his doctorate on the "Effects of fish introduction on invertebrate fauna of an alpine lake" and graduated in 1969. Walters did not go on for a postdoctoral position; instead he almost immediately started working at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.[2]


Walters's first professorship was at the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor in the Fisheries Centre. In 1977, he became an Associate Professor and then a Professor in 1982. Prior to his professional appointment at UBC, Walters worked in the Department of Fish and Game and the Game, Fish and Parks Department and he was also a graduate fellow, a consultant, and an aide on numerous occasions.[2] He has taken many sabbaticals to the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, the University of Florida, where he is an adjunct professor, and Australia.[2] He has been on the editorial board for multiple journals including the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Conservation Ecology, and Ecosystems and has been the associate editor of the Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computation and the Northwest Environmental Journal.[2] Walters also served, and continues to serve, as a consultant to many government agencies.


Walters uses mathematical modeling to understand how to successfully manage harvestable fisheries in a time of high uncertainty.[1][2] He specializes in fisheries stock assessments (i.e. cod and juvenile steelhead trout), adaptive management strategies, and ecosystem modeling.[1][2][7][8] One of his goals has been, and continues to be, to try to bridge the gap between fisheries management, government, and fishing industries in order to provide accurate information to use in successfully and actively managing fisheries. His work in modeling population dynamics and active adaptive management has made Walters a valuable member of the scientific community.


Foraging Arena Theory

Other modeling equations like the Beverton-Holt model and the "hockey stick" model by Barrowman and Myers (2000) try to explain density dependent effects of juvenile fish populations using processes like recruitment and the number of eggs produced.[9][10][11] Fisheries biologists and population ecologists have used the Beverton-Holt model since the 1960s to describe the "stock-recruitment" relationship.[10] However, Walters believed that juvenile behavior could also explain the density dependent relationship that Beverton and Holt and Barrowman and Myers described. Walters thought that juvenile behavior, in conjunction with habitat, could explain the density dependency seen when foraging for prey and avoiding predators.[11][12] Walters wanted to give scientists a better understanding of the processes that drive density dependent fluctuations in ecosystem statistics (birth and death rates).[11] The foraging arena theory is also used, in conjunction with the ecosystem simulation program Ecopath with Ecosim, to account for the indirect effects and trophic cascades seen in populations.[11]

Adaptive management

One of Walters biggest concerns in the rapidly changing ecological values between different interest groups.[15] Although there are concerns when executing active adaptive management strategies, there is a growing need to modify the current methods for exploring and understanding ecosystems, especially on a larger scale, and active adaptive management strategies aim to do exactly that.

Selected publications

  • Walters, C.J. 1986. Adaptive Management of Renewable Resources. MacMillan Pub. Co, New York, USA. (374 pp).
  • Hilborn, R. and Walters C.J. 1991. Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment and Management. Chapman-Hall, Pub. Co., New York, USA. (580 pp).
  • Walters C.J. and Martell S. 2004. Fisheries Ecology and Management. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press.
Journal publications
  • Walters C.J. and,Juanes F. 1993. "Recruitment limitation as a consequence of optimal risk-taking behaviour by juvenile fish." Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50:2058-2070.
  • Walters, C.J. 1997. "Challenges in adaptive management of riparian and coastal ecosystems." Conservation Ecology (online) 1(2): 1.
  • Walters, C.J. and Green, R. 1997. "Valuing large scale management experiments for natural resources." J. Wildl. Mgmt. 61:987-1006.
  • Perry I., Walters C.J. and Boutillier J. 1999. "A framework for providing scientific advice for the management of new and developing fisheries." Rev. Fish Biol. Fisheries 9:1-26.
  • Perry R.I., Walters C.J., and Boutillie J.A. 1999. "A framework for providing scientific advice for the management of new and developing invert fisheries." Rev. Fish Biol. Fisheries. 9: 125-150.
  • Walters C.J. and Korman J. 1999. "Revisiting the Beverton-Holt recruitment model from a life history and multispecies perspective." Rev. Fish Biol. Fisheries 9:187-202.
  • Pauly D., Christensen V., Walters C.J. 2000. "Ecopath, ecosim, and ecospace as tools for evaluating ecosystem impact of fisheries." ICES J. Mar. Sci. 57:697-706.
  • Walters C.J. 2001. "Implications for marine population and community dynamics of natural selection for predation avoidance tactics." Marine Ecology Progress series. 208:309-313.
  • Walters C.J. and Martell S.J.D. 2002. "Stock assessment needs for sustainable fisheries management." Bulletin of marine science. 70(2): 629.
  • Christensen V. and Walters C.J. 2004. "Trade-offs in Ecosystem-scale Optimization of Fisheries Management Policies." Bulletin of Marine Science. 74(3): 549-562.
  • Walters C.J. 2005. "Is Adaptive Management Helping to Solve Fisheries Problems?" Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62(6): 1320-1336.
  • Coggins L.G., Catalano M.J., Allen M.S., Pine W.E., Walters C.J. 2007. "Effects of cryptic mortality and the hidden costs of using length limits in fishery management." Fish and Fisheries. 8(3): 196-210.


  • Wildlife Society award for best paper in fish ecology and management: Walters, C.J. and Hilborn R. 1976. Adaptive control of fishing systems, J. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada 33(1): 145-159.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada[16] (1998)
  • Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation[17] (2001–2004)
  • Mote Eminent Scholar - Florida State University and Mote Marine Laboratory (2001–2002)
  • Murray A. Newman Award for Marine Conservation (Vancouver Aquarium) (2005)
  • Volvo Environment Prize[6] - shared with Daniel Pauly and Ray Hilborn (2006)
  • American Fisheries Society Award of Excellence[18] (2006)
  • Timothy R. Parsons Medal[19] (2007)[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Dr. Carl Walters Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Curricula Vitae for Peer Reviewers California Fisheries Coalition. Retrieved 24 December 2008
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Walters C.J. and McGuire J.J. 1996. Lessons for stock assessment from the northern cod collapse. Rev. Fish. Biol. Fisheries 6:125-137
  8. ^ Melnychuk M.C., Welch D.W., Walters C.J., and Christensen V. 2007. Riverine and early ocean migration and mortality patterns of juvenile steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from the Cheakamus River, British Columbia. Hydrobiologia. 582: 55-65.
  9. ^ Barrowman N.J. and Myers R.A. 2000. Still more spawner-recRuitment curves: the hockey stick and its generalizations. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 57: 665-676.
  10. ^ a b Walters C.J. and Juanes F. 1993. Recruitment limitation as a consequence of optimal risk-taking behaviour by juvenile fish. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50:2058-2070.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Walters CJ and Martell S (2004) Fisheries Ecology and Management. Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press.
  12. ^ Walters C.J. and ,Juanes F. 1993. Recruitment limitation as a consequence of optimal risk-taking behaviour by juvenile fish. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50:2058-2070.
  13. ^ Walters, C.J. 1987. Adaptive policy design for fisheries management: active versus passive policies. In L.W. Botsford [Ed.], Perspectives on Applied Ecology. U. Calif. Press, Davis.
  14. ^ Hilborn, R. and Walters C.J. 1991. Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment and Management. Chapman-Hall, Pub. Co., New York, USA. (580 pp)
  15. ^ a b Walters, C. 2007. Is adaptive management helping to solve fisheries problems? Ambio. 36:304-307.
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External links

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