John D. Neilson - Research Scientist
- B.Sc. Zoology (1975, University of British Columbia)
- M.N.R.M. (Master of Natural Resource Management (1977, University of Manitoba)
- Ph.D. Biology (1984, Simon Fraser University)
- Consulting Fisheries Biologist (1977-1979, MacLaren-Marex Consulting Ltd)
Dr. Neilson is an experienced population ecologist who has studied fisheries issues on all three of Canada’s coasts as well as in river systems and the Caribbean. His research interests include age and growth investigations, and stock structure studies. He has served as the Section Head for the Population Ecology Section at SABS between 1994 and 2000. He has also served as Chairman of a number of stock assessment review committees, and has served as an editorial board member for well-known fisheries journals. Most recently, he is the Head Canadian Scientist to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and is the Coordinator of the Atlantic Swordfish species group for ICCAT.
Some highlights of his research include
- John has made numerous published contributions to the fish and growth literature, that deals with age determinations at both the annual and daily level of precision.
- Dr. Neilson has made substantial contributions to the understanding of the early life history of marine fish ranging from the gamete, through eggs and larvae,to the juvenile stage of development. His review of diel vertical migrations in larval and juvenile marine fish described processes controlling vertical movement in marine fish, and provided a classification of types of migrations that has been broadly adopted.
- John has worked extensively on the ecology of Atlantic halibut, and scientific support of the management of that fishery. This work has to a monograph contrasting the ecology and fisheries of Atlantic and Pacific halibuts. Dr. Neilson and colleagues successfully promoted a minimum size regulation by developing novel statistical methods to describe the probability of death after capture by different gear types and release, and describing the benefits in terms of yield and value to fishermen.
- Dr. Neilson has promoted integrated use of diverse data including growth rate, fishery and ichthyoplankton distributions, and meristic and morphometric observations to better resolve the stock structure of Atlantic Canadian marine fish resources, including Atlantic halibut, Atlantic cod, and pollock). These investigations have led to the redefinition of management unit boundaries that protect stock biodiversity while helping promote sustainable exploitation.
- Dr. Neilson was among the first to promote an incremental approach to comprehensive stock assessments for marine fish, a novel approach that dealt successively with the biology, stock structure, fishery and research vessel survey data and finally with the synthesis of stock status that provide appropriate approaches for management.
- John currently leads an active program of research working with large pelagic species such as bluefin tuna and swordfish. Current areas of concentration include stock structure and age determination studies for both these species.
- Neilson, J.D. and C.E. Banford. 1983. Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) spawner characteristics in relation to redd physical features. Can. J. Zool. 61: 1524-1531.
- Campana, S.E. and J.D. Neilson. 1985. Microstructure of fish otoliths. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 42:1014-1032.
- Neilson, J.D., Perry, R.I., Valerio, P. and K.G. Waiwood. 1986. Condition of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhus) larvae after the transition to exogenous feeding: morphometrics, buoyancy and predator avoidance. Marine Ecology - Progress Series. 32: 229-235.
- Neilson, J.D., Waiwood, K.G. and S.J. Smith. 1989. Survival of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) caught in longline and otter trawl gear. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 46:887-897.
- Neilson, J.D. and W.R. Bowering. 1989. Minimum size regulations and the implications for yield and value in the Canadian Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) fishery. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 46: 1899-1903.
- Neilson, J.D. and R.I. Perry. 1990. Diel vertical migrations of juvenile fish: an obligate or faculatative process? Advances in Marine Biology. 26:115-168.
- Neilson, J.D., Kearney, J.F., Perley, P. and H. Sampson. 1993. Reproductive biology of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) in Canadian waters. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50: 551-563.
- Hunt, J.J. and J.D. Neilson. 1993. Is there a separate stock of Atlantic cod in the western side of the Bay of Fundy? North American Journal of Fisheries Management 13: 421-436.
- Neilson, J.D., Aiken, K.A., and R.M. Mahon. 1999. Potential yield estimates for reef fisheries: a review of approaches and their limitations with special reference to the Caribbean. Proc. Gulf. Caribb. Fish. Instit. 46: 360-376.
- Moghim, M. and J.D. Neilson. 1999. Imminent collapse of the Caspian Sea Stellate Sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus). Ambio 28: 372-373.
- Neilson, J.D., Clark, D., Melvin, G.D., Perley, P. and C. Stevens. 2003. The diel vertical distribution and characteristics of pre-spawning aggregations of pollock (Pollachius virens) as inferred from hydroacoustic observations: the implications for survey design. ICES Journal of Marine Science 60:1-12.
- Carruthers, E.H., Neilson, J.D., Waters, C. and P. Perley. 2005. Long-term changes in the feeding of Pollachius virens on the Scotian Shelf: responses to a dynamic ecosystem. Journal of Fish Biology (2005) 66, 327–347.
- Neilson, J. D., Stobo, W. T., and Perley, P. 2006. Pollock (Pollachius virens) stock structure in the Canadian Maritimes inferred from mark-recapture studies. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 63: 749-765.
- Neilson, J. D., Paul, S.D., and Smith, S. 2006. Stock structure of swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the Atlantic: a review of the non-genetic evidence. ICCAT 2006/025, 41 p.
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