Andrew Edwards

Research Scientist

Pacific Biological Station
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Publications, stock assessments, etc., including .pdf files


Google Scholar Profile

GitHub homepage



I am a Research Scientist at the Pacific Biological Station (part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I also hold an Adjunct Assistant Professor position with the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. As an ecological modeller I have worked on many topics.

Recent and ongoing research involves methods for fitting size spectra to data, resulting in publications in Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Marine Ecology Progress Series. Our R package sizeSpectra has vignettes and functions to reproduce all our results and for users to apply our likelihood methods to their own data.

I recently collaborated with a stellar team in British Columbia on epidemiological modelling of COVID-19. Our work is used by the British Columbia (BC) government and the Public Health Agency of Canada (e.g. the bottom figure of this CBC article and slide 12 of this Public Health Agency of Canada presentation). Explicitly we developed a model that takes into account physical distancing, and used it to estimate the leeway to reopen economies in various countries, Canadian provinces, and US states. Part of my contribution was developing a likelihood approach for fitting right-truncated data (for COVID this concerned fitting the delay between people getting symptoms and showing up in the data later as a reported case), resulting in an R package rightTruncation. Full details are in our papers in PLoS Computational Biology and Epidemics.

Marie Auger-Méthé and I wrote some guidance concerning mathematical notation in ecology (also useful for other areas of biology, and beyond). These have been well received on the Twitter.

Stock assessment work involves the annual assessments for Pacific Hake in U.S. and Canadian waters since 2016, currently with Chris Grandin, Kelli Johnson and Aaron Berger. The large biomass of this stock means that it is an important ecosystem component and also has large commerical value (the exported value of Canadian catches in 2018 was $100 million). I have also worked on assessments for several rockfish species (Pacific Ocean Perch, Yellowmouth Rockfish, Redbanded Rockfish, Yelloweye Rockfish) along the coast of British Columbia, These mainly use age- and sex-structured population models, fitted to data in a Bayesian context.

I have led development of an R pacakge gfiphc for extracting and analysing the groundfish data for from the International Pacific Halibut Commission longline survey in British Columbia waters. This feeds directly into our data synopsis of over 100 species of British Columbia groundfish to allow many users to easily see our extensive data. This was led by Sean Anderson, and we also wrote a short article in Fisheries explaining the benefits of such an approach.

My career research interests are wide, from the smallest marine plants to the largest seabirds. The latter relates to our Nature paper that was also the focus of an article in Science. This led to further research concerning movement patterns of a variety of foragers, including microzooplankton, grey seals and even fisherman. Seven of my first-author papers have each been cited at least 100 times (see Google Scholar Profile).

My background is in mathematics, and my first foray into ecology was as an undergraduate NERC summer student with Dr. Simon Wood, investigating properties of the Ricker model with noise. In a pleasing turn of events, I now work where Dr. Bill Ricker did much of his work. I have done cruises on the Research Vessel W.E. Ricker, my office looks out onto a road called "Ricker's curve", and I (apparently) have a bookcase that once belonged to Dr. Ricker.

I moved to Nanaimo from the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, where I held the somewhat uniquely-named position of Biosphere Complexity Analyst. I was previously a Research Associate in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada, where I worked with Dr. Ransom Myers on the impacts of industrial fishing and co-taught a course entitled 'An Introduction to Biological Modelling'. I also worked with Dr. Trevor Platt and Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath for five years at the nearby Bedford Institute of Oceanography (also part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada), on modelling of the plankton ecosystem. Before that I was in Dr. Hal Caswell's lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA, also working on plankton modelling. I obtained my Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, supervised by Prof. John Brindley at the University of Leeds, UK.

Research Interests

Fisheries, stock assessments, size spectra, statistical ecology, statistical methods for analysing fisheries data, effects of ocean acidification, general modelling in marine ecology, methods for analysing animal movements, power-law distributions, Levy flights, mathematical ecology and biology, dynamical systems, plankton population modelling, theoretical ecology, structure of models, food webs, biological-physical coupling in oceanography, biodiversity, MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo) methods, state-space models.

Dr. Andrew M. Edwards
Pacific Biological Station
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7

Tel: 1 250 756 7146
Fax: 1 250 756 7053

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