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Dr. Peter Lawton (Director of CMB, marine ecologist)

Dr. Peter Lawton was elected Director of the Centre for Marine Biodiversity in Dec. 2006, replacing Dr. Ellen Kenchington (CMB's first Director). He is a Research Scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the St. Andrews Biological Station. He received his academic training in the United Kingdom, gaining a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Bradford in 1978, then a Ph.D. in Marine Zoology from the University of Wales in 1983. He conducted post-doctoral research at the St. Andrews Biological Station from 1983 - 1985 as a Visiting Fellow in Canadian Government Laboratories. He subsequently moved to the Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, Stony Brook, initially as a National Sea Grant Program Postdoctoral Fellow, then becoming a temporary member of the university faculty. His doctoral and postdoctoral research was focussed on the foraging behaviour of decapod crustaceans in a variety of theoretical and applied ecological contexts, including the control of crab predation in commercial bivalve aquaculture. He returned to the St. Andrews Biological Station in 1989 as a Research Scientist responsible for lobster and crab fisheries science programs in the Bay of Fundy.

Between 1989 and 2004 Dr. Lawton led a program of research to investigate the habitat requirements of lobsters and to explore benthic recruitment processes in decapod crustaceans. This work involved extensive field studies using SCUBA diving and surface-deployed video approaches which Dr. Lawton’s team has developed, as well as periodic collaborations with other scientists using ROV and research submersible approaches to study deep-water lobster and crab populations. In the mid-1990’s Dr. Lawton recognized the need for better survey techniques and data integration to investigate coastal marine habitat use by lobsters and other marine organisms at landscape scales. 

Since 2004 Dr. Lawton and his DFO colleague Mr. Michael Strong (whose underwater photographic talents are well recognised by Centre of Marine Biodiversity members) have adapted these survey approaches to address broader marine biodiversity questions.  Dr. Lawton has chaired the Steering Committee for CMB's Gulf of Maine Discovery Corridor program since 2004. He has recently begun to expand his research interests back out to deeper-water environments, working with Ellen Kenchington and university collaborators Drs. Anna Metaxas and Paul Snelgrove to apply remote video systems, such as the ROPOS deepwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, to benthic habitat characterisation within the corridor.

Key words: invertebrate fisheries, decapod crustaceans, predation, benthic studies, aquaculture:fisheries interaction, geospatial approaches, coastal habitat inventory, landscape ecology

For further information, please email Peter Lawton or contact him at the address below:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
St. Andrews Biological Station
531 Brandy Cove Road
St. Andrews, New Brunswick,
Canada, E5B 2L9
Office: (506) 529-5919
Fax: (506) 529-5862

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