This is a prestigious lectureship instituted in memory of Cam Stevenson, the long-time Editor of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS), published by NRC Press and is conferred upon a young, energetic and creative researcher at the cutting edge of an aquatic discipline. Each year a Lecturer is selected by the Journal's Editorial Board. In the Spring of each year a call for nominations is sent to the Chairs of Zoology and Biology departments across Canada, as well as to the research directors of the federal Departments of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada and the National Research Council. The list of nominees is then sent to the CJFAS Editorial Board, who provides recommendations and justification for their selections. The Lecturer delivers a stimulating presentation of their work as the keynote address in the opening session of the Annual CCFFR meeting. A written version of the presentation is normally published as the lead article in the January issue of CJFAS or sometime soon thereafter.

The 2010 Stevenson Lecturer is:

Dr. Bryan D. Neff

Department of Biology

University of Western Ontario, London

The Molecular Ecology of Adaptation and Environmental Sustainability

Fish provide about twenty percent of the global demand for animal protein consumption, yet nearly forty percent of commercial fisheries have now collapsed or are in serious decline. In response to this collapse, governments have invested millions of dollars on enhancement breeding programs, but many have failed to rehabilitate wild stocks. My lab works on the molecular ecology of fish and our long term goal is to help provide the scientific data that are needed to effectively manage this important natural resource and ultimately to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries. We use genetic and molecular tools to examine ecological questions relating to population structure, host-parasite dynamics, and the conservation of biodiversity. Drawing on my lab’s research with Chinook salmon and guppies, I will discuss (1) adaptations driven by the co-evolution of host immune genes of the major histocompatibility complex and local pathogen communities, (2) the quantitative genetics of fitness and the effectiveness of artificial breeding programs, and (3) domestication and multi-trophic, closed-containment “green” aquaculture. I will argue that a pluralistic approach combining effective enhancement of wild populations – i.e. breeding programs that target genetic fitness and not genetic diversity – with green aquaculture is required to ensure that the global demand for fish consumption is met while mitigating overexploitation and wild-population declines.