By André Punt
Mark Scheuerell is the newest member of the SAFS faculty. He joins SAFS as the Assistant Unit Leader, Fisheries, in the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (WACFWRU), and an Associate Professor. Mark was a PhD student in UW Zoology from 1997-2002 and a post-doctoral fellow in SAFS from 2002-2003. Mark joins SAFS from NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center where he was a Research Fish Biologist working on a variety of problems related to the conservation and management of aquatic resources, particularly along the west coast of North America. Many of us already know Mark from his days as a PhD student and post-doc and as one of the instructors of our time-series class, but I wanted to know more.
AP: What attracted you to fisheries and Seattle?
MS: I grew up in central Minnesota with the Mississippi River about 50 feet from my back door. My family spent a lot of time swimming, canoeing, boating, and fishing during the summer, so I have long had a fascination with water and everything in it. My career path changed forever when I discovered as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin that you could get paid to study all kinds of different water bodies! About that same time I met my future PhD supervisor and current SAFS professor, Daniel Schindler, when he was TA’ing my limnology class. After he was hired as faculty member in the UW Department of Zoology, I followed him out here for graduate school in 1997 and never left.
AP: Describe your current research interests and job
MS: Much of my graduate research and prior training was very focused on field research. I was fortunate, though, to have taken a variety of great quantitative courses at UW, including Ray Hilborn’s Advanced Stock Assessment class. The combination of the empirical and quantitative knowledge I gained has helped me enormously as a research scientist at NMFS. Much of my current research is focused on the development and application of statistical models for analyzing the temporal and spatial data that we use for assessing the status of at-risk species.
AP: What attracted you to a position in the WAFWRU and SAFS?
MS: The Washington Coop Unit has a long history of collaborating with regional partners to address conservation and management issues in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. As an applied ecologist, I saw this unique position as a way to further contribute to these efforts through the integration of field studies and quantitative analyses. SAFS also has a 100-year history of academic excellence, and so the opportunity to possibly join such a storied program was simply too good to resist. I really enjoy mentoring and teaching, and this position will allow me to work with and learn from an amazingly talented group of students and post-docs.
AP: What are your planning to do as the new Co-Op Assistant Unit Leader?
MS: One of my first priorities is to travel around the state and introduce myself to the state cooperators in the Washington State Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, and Ecology. I want to learn not only about their most pressing needs, but also how they envision those changing into the future. In particular, I am curious as to how we, as educators and mentors, can better prepare our students to meet these future challenges. I feel equally strong about engaging with Native American tribes on the same issues, and increasing their involvement at UW.
AP: What could we learn about you that isn’t in your CV?
MS: I’m a pretty laid back person with a dry sense of humor. I enjoy spending time outdoors, cycling, skiing, and camping with my wife (AP: Jennifer Scheuerell, MS SAFS 2004) and two daughters. I also enjoy college and professional sports, and my family has become actively involved with the UW Women’s Basketball team through a national nonprofit called Team IMPACT whose mission is to connect children with serious and chronic illnesses or disabilities with local college athletic teams.