Jeremy Collie URI

Jeremy S. Collie

Professor of Oceanography
237A Coastal Institute

Educational Background

Ph.D., Biological Oceanography - MIT/WHOI Joint Program - 1985
B.S., Biology - University of York - 1980


Broadly speaking, I am a quantitative marine ecologist who concentrates on exploited marine fish and invertebrate populations. As few of these marine populations can be enumerated with direct census methods, developing indirect methods of estimating animal abundance is a large part of the study of fish population dynamics. My first publication presented a new method of estimating population size from commercial catch and survey relative abundance data. In the past 30 years, the method has been modified by myself and others for routine assessments of species ranging from blue crabs to red king crabs.  Research trawl surveys continue to be the backbone of fish stock assessments on continental shelves around the world.

Once reliable estimates of abundance are obtained, my research then turns to the factors affecting the productivity of marine fish populations: harvesting, climatic variability, trophic interactions and other human disturbance. It is now widely recognized that overfishing is the primary cause of stock collapse in many parts of the world. I fit population models to determine reference levels for overfishing and targets for sustainable fisheries. I use simulation modeling to estimate the expected benefits and rebuilding rates of depleted stocks. Often, the best population model is unknown, because of uncertainty in population size or productivity. Adaptive management is an approach whereby the management action (e.g. stock rebuilding) is considered as an experiment, the results of which reduce uncertainty about the correct population model. While working in British Columbia, I developed adaptive management strategies for Pacific salmon, whereby the harvest policy is modified in response to climate-driven changes in productivity.

Climate variability is another leading cause of fluctuations in fish population abundance. I have investigated environmental determinants of survival in Pacific herring with a larval sampling program and by correlating recruitment to temperature changes. It is most likely that effects of the physical environment on fish production are mediated through the food web. During the 1990s, I constructed population models that incorporate trophic interactions (e.g. competition, predation) and realistic oceanic variability. The largest amplitude variations occur on longer time scales; therefore I concentrate on regime shifts that occur at decadal time scales. With overfishing mostly eliminated, global warming has become a primary driver of fish population dynamics. I have used the GSO Fish Trawl data to document long-term shifts in the fish community of Narragansett Bay.


Jeremy Collie teaches graduate courses on fish population dynamics, fisheries oceanography, and numerical models and data analysis in ocean science.


Jeremy Collie is a member of the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan, Habitat Advisory Board; the ICES Working Group on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing Activities; and the New England Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee.

Select recent publications:

J.S. Collie, L.W. Botsford, A. Hastings, I.C. Kaplan, J.L. Largier, P.A. Livingston, E. Plagányi, K.A. Rose, B.K. Wells, F.E. Werner. 2104. Ecosystem models for fisheries management: finding the sweet spot. Fish and Fisheries, doi: 10.1111/faf.1209

J.S. Collie, M-J. Rochet, and R.J. Bell. 2013. Rebuilding fish communities: the ghost of fisheries past and the virtue of patience. Ecological Applications 23: 374-391.

J.S. Collie, B. Craig., W.L. Adamowicz, M.W. Beck, T.E. Essington, D. Fluharty, J. Rice, and J.N. Sanchirico. 2013. Marine spatial planning in practice. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science 117:1-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.11.010.

J.S. Collie, C. Minto, B. Worm, and R. Bell. 2013. Prerecruit predation can delay rebuilding of depleted cod stocks. Bulletin of Marine Science 89:107-122.

J.S. Collie, R.M. Peterman, and B.M. Zuehlke. 2012. A fisheries risk-assessment framework to evaluate trade-offs among management options in the presence of time-varying productivity. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 69:209-223.


Ecosystem models for fisheries management: finding the sweet spot, ICES Annual Science Conference, A Coruna, Spain, 17 September 2014.

Marine spatial planning in practice. ICES Annual Science Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland. 24 September 2013.

A comparative analysis of forage fish dynamics. ICES/PICES Symposium on Forage Fish Interactions, Nantes, France. 14 November 2012 (Keynote speaker).

Rebuilding fish communities: the ghost of fisheries past and the virtue of patience. American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists Sympoisum, New Bedford, Mass. 28 June 2012 (Keynote speaker).

Prerecruit predation delays rebuilding of depleted cod stocks. Mote Symposium, Sarasota, Florida, 8 November 2011.