Professor Eric Verspoor


Senior Researcher

+44 (0)1463 273226

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 35 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 150 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 biodiversity in Scottish rivers and lochs and its role local maintaining healthy freshwater ecosystems.  It also is aimed at applying genetic and genomic analysis to the routine management and conservation of aquatic biodiversity such as fish stocks, to provide the knowledge on the basic biology and status of species and populations that to guide management, avoid and minimize negative impacts, and maximize sustainable economic returns at both the local and national level.

Find out more about Professor Verspoor and his research output.