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David Conover


Stony Brook University

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, 1982

Research Expertise

Fisheries Biology And Evolution
Fisheries Ecology
Resource Management
Striped Bass
Atlantic Silversides




Dr. David O. Conover is a Professor at Stony Brook University, and is currently on leave while serving as the Director of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Previously, Dr. Conover was Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University. His research interests involve the ecology and evolutionary biology of fishes, and understanding how to use reproductive, behavioral, physiological, or life history traits in fishes to solve resource management problems. Dr. Conover was the first to show that sex determination in fishes is influenced by temperature during larval development, through his work with Atlantic silversides. His lab has also investigated how growth rates of fishes are related to differences in seasonality that occur with latitude, showing that fishes in high latitudes have a higher genetic capacity for growth and grow faster within the growing season than do low-latitude fish. Most recently, Dr. Conover has been examining how selective pressures (i.e. harvesting) alters life history traits and growth rates in fishes. In March 2009, Dr. Conover published results from an experiment with Atlantic silversides, showing for the first time that evolutionary impacts from fishing are reversible.

Dr. Conover has served on the boards of the New York Sea Grant Institute, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Association of Marine Laboratories, and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, and has authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers. He was the first recipient of the Mote Eminent Scholar Chair in fisheries ecology, and has also received an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship.


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Recent Selected Publcations

Walsh, M., S. Munch, S. Chiba and D.O. Conover. 2006. Maladaptive changes in multiple traits caused by fishing: impediments to population recovery. Ecology Letters 9(2): 142-148.

Weinstein, M.P., R.C. Baird, D.O. Conover, M. Gross, J. Keulartz, D.K. Loomis, Z. Naveh, S.B. Peterson, D.J. Reed, E. Roe, R.L. Swanson, J.A.A. Swart, J.M. Teal, R.E. Turner, and H.J. van der Windt. 2007. Managing coastal resources in the 21st century. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5: 43-48.

Conover, D.O. and S.B. Munch. 2007. Faith, evolution, and the burden of proof. Fisheries 32(2): 90-91.

Susumu, C., S.A. Arnott, and D.O. Conover. 2007. Coevolution of foraging behavior with intrinsic growth rate: risk-taking in naturally and artifically selected growth genotypes of Menidia menidia. Oecologia 154: 237-246.

Conover, D.O. 2007. Nets versus nature. Nature (London) 450:179-180.

Conover, D.O., S.B. Munch and S.A. Arnott. 2009. Reversal of evolutionary downsizing caused by selective harvest of large fish. Proc. Royal Soc. London B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0003.

Munch, S.B., M. Walsh, and D.O. Conover. 2005. Harvest selection, genetic correlations, and evolutionary changes in recruitment: one less thing to worry about? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62(4): 802-810.

Conover, D.O., S.A. Arnott, M.R. Walsh, and S.B. Munch. 2005. Darwinian fishery science: lessons from the Atlantic silverside. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 62(4): 730-737.

Hurst, T.P., K.A. McKown, and D.O. Conover. 2004. Interannual and long term variation in the near-shore fishcommunity of the mesohaline Hudson River estuary. Estuaries 27(4): 659-669.

E. K. Pikitch, C. Santora, .E. A. Babcock, A. Bakun, R. Bonfil, D.O. Conover, P. Dayton, P. Doukakis, D. Fluharty, B.

Heneman, E. D. Houde, J. Link, P. A. Livingston, M. Mangel, M. K. Mcallister, J. Pope, K. J. Sainsbury. 2004. Ecosystem-based fishery management. Science 305(5682): 346-347.

Conover, D.O. 2004. Temperature-dependent sex determination in fishes. pp. 11-20 In Temperature-dependent sex determination. N. Valenzuela and V. Lance (eds). Smithsonian Institution Press. (194 p).

Munch S.B. and D.O. Conover. 2004. Nonlinear growth cost in Menidia menidia: Theory and empirical evidence. Evolution 58(3): 661-664.

Hurst, T.P. and D.O. Conover. 2003. Seasonal and interannual variation in the allometry of energy allocation in juvenile striped bass. Ecology 84: 3360-3369.

Conover, D.O., T. Gilmore, and S.B. Munch. 2003. Estimating the relative contribution of spring and summer-spawned cohorts to the Atlantic coast bluefish stock. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 132(6): 1117-1124.

Munch, S.B. and D.O. Conover. 2003. Rapid growth results in increased susceptibility to predation in Menidia menidia. Evolution 57(9): 2119-2127.

Munch, S.B., M. Mangel, and D.O. Conover. 2003. Quantifying natural selection on body size from field data with an application to winter mortality in Menidia menidia. Ecology 84(8): 2168-2177.

Conover, D.O. and S.B. Munch. 2002. Sustaining fisheries yields over evolutionary time scales. Science 297(5578):94-96.