Peter Lawson

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Voices from the Science Centers


Voices from the Science Centers is an oral history initiative dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge of fisheries scientists and administrators in the labs of NOAA’s Fisheries Science Centers.

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Date of Interview
Biographical Sketch

Dr. Peter Lawson earned his Bachelor’s degree at Evergreen State College, and his Master’s and Ph.D. in Stream Ecology at Idaho State University. Dr. Lawson was a field ornithologist in northeastern Mexico, studying in particular parrots and peregrine falcons. After earning his graduate degrees he joined the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife using modeling to study Coho salmon. He began his career at NOAA in 1997 and has served on the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council since 1998 and was a member of the Coho Technical Team of the Pacific Salmon Commission. 

Interview contains discussion of: Coho salmon, long-term factors in fish populations, effects of climate change on fisheries, using science to address management needs, role of science in making management decisions, West Coast Salmon Genetic Stock Identification Collaboration, advise for aspiring scientists.

In this interview, Dr. Peter Lawson discusses his career and some of the major projects he has worked on, including the study of Coho salmon and the implementation of genetic identification of salmon. Dr. Lawson also details his concerns and hopes for the future of fisheries management.

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