Dr. Antonio Velez-Espino

Image Velez-Espino, Luis Antonio
Stock Assessment Biologist

Fisheries Science and Quantitative Biology, Pacific Salmon

Current research and/or projects

I am a quantitative biologist with broad experience on demographic modelling, population viability analysis, fisheries models, mark-recapture analytical methods, multivariate statistics, time series analyses, decision analysis, computer simulations, and multiple applications of statistical techniques for diverse research objectives (e.g., forecast methodologies, stock-recruit analysis, invasion dynamics studies, sea lamprey control, salmon stock assessment, population dynamics as part of recovery potential assessments for freshwater species at risk, scientific advice for Pacific salmon management under the umbrella of the Pacific Salmon Commission, etc.).

Research and/or project statements

I have experience conducting independent research on fish population science, fish stock assessment, fisheries productivity, fish habitat science, aquatic invasive species, and aquaculture science. I developed this experience during my graduate studies, postdoctoral positions (2), and in my current position as stock assessment biologist at DFO. My main contributions to science within the Government of Canada include:

(1) Developing quantitative approaches to estimate allowable harm and recovery targets for aquatic species at risk;

(2) Modeling the probabilities of establishment and invasion dynamics of aquatic invasive species;

(3) Developing methodologies to estimate minimum viable population size and quantify critical habitat in freshwater fishes;

(4) Conducting stock assessment of Chinook salmon stocks;

(5) Providing scientific advice through the Chinook Technical Committee of the Pacific Salmon Commission to improve management and recovery of salmon stocks.

Education and awards

  • Ph.D. in Science (Environmental and Life Sciences), Trent University, Peterborough ON, 2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (June 2004-June 2006), Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph / Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
  • Visiting Scientist (July 2006-April 2009), Great Lakes Laboratory of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans, Burlington, ON. From July 2006 to April 2009.

International experience and/or work

The theme of my Ph.D. dissertation involved demographic modelling, life-history studies, population viability analyses, habitat suitability modelling, molecular genetics, experimental aquaculture and other conservation biology aspects for an endangered Andean catfish species endemic of the Ecuadorian Andes.

I have presented the findings of scientific research and participated in several international conferences and workshops, as well as in recognized venues such as the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research, American Fisheries Society annual meetings, International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR), Great Lakes Fishery Commission workshops, and Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat workshops.

In addition, and under my current position, I am a member of the Pacific Salmon Commission Chinook Technical Committee, which requires numerous annual meetings with U.S. members where vast exchange of research findings takes place towards the implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.

Key publications

Vélez-Espino, L.A., Irvine, J.R., Winther, I., Dunlop, R., Mullins, G., Singer, K., and Trouton, N. 2016. Robust and defensible mark-recapture methodologies for salmonid escapement: modernizing the use of data and resources. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:183-206, DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2015.1114540. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A., Ford, J.K.B., Araujo, H.A., Ellis, G., Parken, C.K., and Rishi Sharma. 2015. Relative importance of Chinook salmon abundance on resident killer whale population growth and viability. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 25:756-780. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2494. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A., Ford, J.K.B., Araujo, H.A., Ellis, G., Parken, C.K, & Balcomb, K. 2014. Comparativedemography and viability of northeast Pacific resident killer whale populations at risk. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3084: vi + 56 p. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A., Winther, I., Koroluk, B., and Mullins, G. 2014. Time series calibration (1990-2013) and escapement goal for Atnarko River Chinook salmon. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3085: vi + 90 p. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A, McLaughlin, R.L., and Robillard, M. 2013. Ecological advantages of partial migration as a conditional strategy. Theoretical Population Biology 85: 1-11. 

Sharma, R., Vélez-Espino, L.A, Wertheimer, A.C., Mauntua, N., & Francis, R.C. 2013. Relating spatial and temporal scales of climate and ocean variability to survival of Pacific northwest Chinook. Fisheries Oceanography 22: 14-31. doi:10.1111/fog.12001

Vélez-Espino, L.A. & M.A. Koops. 2012. Capacity for increase, compensatory reserves, and catastrophes as determinants of minimum viable population in freshwater fishes. Ecological Modelling 247: 319-326. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.09.022

 Vélez-Espino, L.A., R.L. McLaughlin, M.L. Jones & T.C. Pratt. 2011. Demographic analysis of trade-offs with deliberate fragmentation of streams: Control of invasive species versus protection of native species fragmentation. Biological Conservation 144: 1068-1080.

Vélez-Espino, L.A. & M.A. Koops. 2010. A synthesis of the ecological processes influencing the variation in life history traits and movement patterns of American eel, Anguilla rostrata, across its geographical range. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 20: 163-186.

Vélez-Espino, L.A., M.A. Koops, & S. Balshine. 2010. Invasion dynamics of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario. Biological Invasions 12: 3861-3875. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-010-9777-9. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A. & M.A. Koops. 2009. Quantifying allowable harm in species at risk: application to the Laurentian black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 19(6): 676-688. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A. & M.A. Koops. 2009. Recovery potential assessment for lake sturgeon in Canadian designatable units. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29:1065-1090. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A., R.L. McLaughlin, & T.C. Pratt. 2008. Management inferences from a demographic analysis of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65: 227-244. 

Vélez-Espino, L.A., M. G. Fox & R.L. McLaughlin. 2006. Characterization of elasticity patterns of North American freshwater fishes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63: 2050-2066. 

For updated list of publications see: http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=bGP2-K8AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao



  • Pacific Salmon Commission’s Chinook Technical Committee
  • Advisory Science Committee, Comparative Animal Demographic Research (COMADRE)
  • The international Society for Ecological Modeling
  • American Fisheries Society