Eric Verspoor


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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)

Frequent Journals


    ISSNs: 0022-1112


    Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.91 SJR 0.862 SNIP 0.897


  2. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

    ISSNs: 0706-652X

    National Research Council of Canada

    Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 2.57 SJR 1.225 SNIP 1.205


  3. ICES Journal of Marine Science

    ISSNs: 1054-3139

    Oxford University Press

    Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 3.22 SJR 1.591 SNIP 1.271


  4. Molecular Ecology

    ISSNs: 0962-1083, 1471-8278

    Blackwell Publishing (Oxford)

    Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 5.53 SJR 3.057 SNIP 1.541


  5. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

    ISSNs: 0024-4066


    Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 2.35 SJR 1.264 SNIP 0.989


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ID: 1530548