Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1977 …2020

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Expertise

Professor Verspoor is an internationally recognised researcher in the field of aquatic biodiversity science and management, with interests focused on fish and in particular on the Atlantic salmon and Arctic charr. He has over 40 years of research and advisory experience and, prior to joining the RLI, headed the Scottish Government fish genetics research group at the Freshwater Laboratory in Pitlochry.

His academic expertise is in ecological and population genetics and its application in sustainable resource management and conservation.  He has authored over 160 peer-reviewed scientific papers and reports and book chapters.  He was the lead editor and chapter contributor to the seminal book “Atlantic salmon: genetics, conservation and management”.  Though his work is focused on salmon and charr in Scotland, he has worked in collaboration with a wide network of international researchers on populations of these species in other northern hemisphere countries.  In Scotland, his work led to the establishment, in collaboration with the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland, of the FASMOP programme (Focusing Atlantic Salmon Management on Populations), the successful initiative to increase understanding of the structuring of Scottish salmon stocks into distinct breeding populations.  He also was a lead scientist in the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) sponsored and EU funded SALSEA-Merge project. This initiative used genetic methods to identify the region of origin of salmon caught at sea to increase understanding of the species marine ecology and the factors underlying stock declines.  He has served on numerous national and international biodiversity management committees and, most recently, undertook a scientific review for the Government of Canada of the potential for genetic impacts of introductions of European farm salmon into Newfoundland.

His current research is aimed at the development of a more complete understanding the true nature and extent of population level biodiversity in freshwater and anadromous species in northern river systems, its ecological importance, and the evolutionary processes that underlie its origins.  His main focus is on the incompletely understood biodiversity in Scottish rivers and lochs and its role local maintaining healthy freshwater ecosystems.  His work exploits the latest population genomics tools to both extent basic and general understanding but also its application in the management and conservation of aquatic biodiversity through the specific understanding of particular ecosystems. Both knowledge of the basic biology and status of species and populations are need to define and impliment sustainable management, avoid and minimize negative impacts, and maximize economic returns at both the local and national level.

Academic Qualifications

  • Batchelor of Science in Ecology (McGill University)
  • Master of Environmental Design in Natural Resource Management (University of Calgary)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Population Genetics (University of Nottingham)
  • Honorary Chair in Zoology (University of Aberdeen - 2009-2015)
  • Chair in Aquatic biodiversity Conservation and Management (University of Highlands and Islands)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, An Ecological Study of Two Enzyme Polymorphisms in Asellus aquaticus L., University of Nottingham

Award Date: 1 Jan 1980

External positions

Honorary Chair, University of Edinburgh

15 Sept 200915 Sept 2015


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