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Robert Lessard
(503) 731-1265

Employee since: 2010

Quantitative Fisheries Scientist

Fishery Science Department
Portland Main Office


My educational background is in applied mathematics. I did an undergraduate degree in actuarial math, followed by a masters degree in forest resource management, then a PhD in mathematical ecology and postdoctoral work in quantitative fisheries science. All of my research has involved intensive problem solving of a quantitative nature. First and foremost, I am a problem solver. My work generally involves resolving a mystery about why some system is behaving the way it is, and finding a way to manipulate an aspect of the system through management actions to change it’s behavior and attain some predefined objective. The approach progresses from a conceptual model of the problem, to a computerized mathematical model building phase, to a simulation and statistical reconstruction of past trends, then finally to an examination of the effect of changing certain elements of the system. In essence, capture the way it works with a model expressed as generalized mathematical equations. Estimate the vital rates that calibrate the equations to fit past trends. Finally, solve the system of calibrated equations for a desired variable and find the optimal desired values using non-linear optimization techniques, i.e., explain it, solve it, fix it. Past projects have involved developing forest fire mitigation strategies, habitat restoration strategies for fish and wildlife recovery, direct manipulation of species abundances for endangered species recovery, examination of climate effects and land and water resource management.


  • Post doc. Research Associate, Fisheries, University of Washington, 1995
  • Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Alberta, 2005
  • Ph.D., Renewable Resource Management, University of Alberta, 2005
  • M.S., Forest Resource Management, University of British Columbia, 1998
  • B.S., Actuarial Mathematics, Concordia University, 1990

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