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Continuing Impacts of the 2009-10 Canada-U.S. Fulbright Chair

September 30, 2011

Continuing Impacts of the 2009-10 Fulbright Canada Chair

Dr Rob Williams, 2009–10 Fulbright Canada Chair, published a thought-provoking piece that was profiled on the cover of the June 2011 issue of the prestigious scientific journal, Conservation Biology. Dr Williams is a Canadian marine conservation biologist who spent his fellowship at UW exploring the linkages among statistics, conservation biology and marine policy. One collaboration he built during his fellowship was with the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, where he published a paper on transboundary (Canada-US) stock assessment of salmon sharks with Professor Vince Gallucci ( In his latest publication, he collaborated with Assistant Professor Trevor Branch on a novel method to assess the conservation status of blue whales in Chilean Patagonia. Although blue whales are the largest animals on Earth, commercial whaling brought their numbers to exceptionally low levels, and their rarity makes it difficult statistically to estimate their abundance. Williams and Branch worked with statisticians, field biologists and ecological modellers from around the world to develop new spatial modeling methods to estimate abundance of blue whales off the coast of Chile. Their analyses showed that that Chilean blue whales are slowly but surely recovering from intensive hunting in the early 1900s, and offers some new mathematical tools for biologists working on low-cost studies of critically endangered species around the world. A copy of his article is available on the ConBio website:

The Fulbright Canada Chair is sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs, Social Sciences in the College Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Fund for Excellence and Innovation in the Graduate School, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.