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Ellen Pikitch


Task Force Chairperson

Professor and Executive Director
Institute for Ocean Conservation Science
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York

Ph.D., Indiana University
Zoology, 1983

Research Expertise

Ocean Conservation
Fisheries Management
Ecosystem-based Approaches
Endangered Fishes



Task Force Chairperson

Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch is Executive Director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and Professor at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. She is an international expert in ocean conservation science and management whose research has focused on the assessment of fish stocks, the management of bycatch, and ecosystem-based fishery management. Dr. Pikitch spearheaded the first scientific consensus on ecosystem-based fishery management, which was published in the journal Science in 2004, and is Chairperson of the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, which will develop scientific recommendations to sustainably manage forage fish using an ecosystem approach.

Dr. Pikitch has also focused on advancing knowledge about vulnerable and ecologically important marine animals. She has led expeditions to study sharks in tropical locations including the Bahamas and Belize, and her research team was the first to use satellite tags to study beluga sturgeon in the Caspian region. Dr. Pikitch’s work has directly influenced the conservation and management of marine species, including trade restrictions on great white sharks and their parts, the listing of beluga sturgeon under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and passage of the U.S. Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000. Her collaboration on developing sophisticated DNA-based forensics techniques to identify shark fins and parts from a piece of tissue has been used by enforcement agents to detect and prosecute illegal sales. This technique was also used to compile the first global estimate of the number of sharks killed for the shark fin trade. Dr. Pikitch recently co-edited the book “Sharks of the Open Ocean,” and has authored and edited over 100 articles and books on fisheries science and management.


Download PDF of C.V.



Recent Selected Publcations

Estes, J.A., J. Terborgh, J.S. Brashares, M. E. Power, J. Berger, W.J. Bond, S.R. Carpenter, T. Essington, R.D. Holt, Jeremy B.C. Jackson, R.J. Marquis, L. Oksanen, T. Oksanen, R.T. Paine, E.K. Pikitch, W. J. Ripple, S. Sandin, M. Scheffer, T. Schoener, J.B. Shurin, A.R.E. Sinclair, M.E. Soule, R. Vertanin, and D.A. Wardle. 2011. Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth. Science 333: 301-306.

Doukakis, P., E.A. Babcock, E.K. Pikitch, A.R. Sharov, M. Baimukhanov, S. Erbulekov,Y. Bokova, and A. Nimatov. 2010.  Management and recovery options for Ural River beluga sturgeon. Conservation Biology 24(3): 769-777.

Pikitch. E.K. (2010).  Prologue. Trophic Cascades.  Edited by J. Terborgh and J. Estes.  Island Press.

Chapman, D.D., E.A. Babcock, S.H. Gruber, J.D. DiBattista, B.R. Franks, S.A. Kessel, T. Guttridge, E.K. Pikitch and K.A. Feldheim.  2009.  Long term natal site-fidelity by immature lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) at a subtropical island.  Molecular Ecology 18: 3500 – 3507.

Camhi, M.D., E.K. Pikitch, and E.A. Babcock, editors. 2008. Sharks of the Open Ocean: Biology, Fisheries and Conservation. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. 536 p.

Pikitch, E.K., C. Santora, and E.A. Babcock. 2008. New frameworks for reconciling conservation with fisheries: incorporating uncertainty and ecosystem processes into fisheries management. Pages 1177-1187 in J.L. Nielsen, J.J. Dodson, K. Friedland, T.R. Hamon, J. Musick, and E. Verspoor, editors. Reconciling Fisheries and Conservation: Proceedings of the Fourth World Fisheries Congress. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 49, Bethesda, Maryland.

Babcock, E.A., M.K. McAllister, and E.K. Pikitch. 2007. Comparison of harvest control policies for rebuilding overfished populations within a fixed rebuilding time frame. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27: 1326-1342.

Clarke, S., M.K. McAllister, E.J. Milner-Gulland, G.P. Kirkwood, C.G.J. Michielsens, D.J. Agnew, E.K. Pikitch, H. Nakano, and M.S. Shivji. 2006. Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets. Ecology Letters 9: 1115–1126

Babcock, E.A., E.K. Pikitch, M.K. McAllister, P. Apostolaki, and C. Santora. 2005. A perspective on the use of spatialized indicators for ecosystem-based fishery management through spatial zoning. ICES Journal of Marine Science 62: 469-476.

Pikitch, E.K., P. Doukakis, L. Lauck, P. Chakrabarty, and D.L. Erickson. 2005. Status, trends and management of sturgeon and paddlefish fisheries. Fish and Fisheries 6: 233–265.

Babcock, E.A. and E.K. Pikitch. 2004. Can we reach agreement on a standardized approach to ecosystem-based fishery management? Bulletin of Marine Science 74: 685-692.

Boersma, D., J. Ogden, G. Branch, R. Bustamante, C. Campagna, G. Harris, and E.K. Pikitch. 2004. Chapter 6: Lines on the Water: Ocean-Use Planning in Large Marine Ecosystems. Pages 125-138 in Glover, L.K. and S.A. Earle, editors. Defying Ocean’s End: An Agenda for Action. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Pikitch, E.K., 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. Livingston, M. Mangel, M.K. McAllister, J. Pope, and K.J. Sainsbury. 2004. Ecosystem-based fishery management. Science 305: 346-347.

Pikitch, E.K. 2002. The scientific case for precautionary management: current fishery problems traced to improper use of science. Pages 59-63 in Managing Marine Fisheries in the United States: Proceedings of the Pew Oceans Commission Workshop on Marine Fishery Management. Pew Oceans Commission, Arlington, Virginia.

National Research Council. 1999. Committee on Ecosystem Management for Sustaining Marine Fisheries. Sustaining Marine Fisheries. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

Pikitch, E.K., D.D. Huppert, and M.P. Sissenwine. 1997. Global Trends: Fisheries Management. American Fisheries Society Symposium 20. Bethesda, Maryland. 328 p.