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Dr. Stephen Crawford
Associate Professor


Office: SSC 2474
Ext: 53544
Lab: SSC 2405/2406
Ext.: 53594


Since 2005, my faculty position in the Department of Integrative Biology has been co-sponsored by the University of Guelph and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation - an Ojibway community on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula of Lake Huron, Ontario. After a decade of working with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON=Nawash and Saugeen First Nation, collectively) on research and management issues associated with their Constitutionally-protected Aboriginal fisheries, my efforts shifted significantly to this academic environment. Under terms of the Nawash-UG Memorandum of Agreement, my work is organized in three major areas that provide overlapping benefits to both sponsoring partners: Research (Nawash/UG), Service (Nawash/UG), and Teaching (UG).


B.Sc. - University Guelph (1985)
M.Sc. - Queen's University (1987)
Ph.D. - University of Guelph (1993)


As defined in the Nawash-UG MOA, my research program is divided into three major themes that vary over time in response to specific needs of Nawash/SON and the opportunity for innovative scholarly collaborations.

1. Great Lakes Fish Ecology

My initial training as a fish ecologist has continued over the past decades in several forms, including: developmental biology, animal behaviour, fish habitat, effect of exotic species, species-at-risk, fish population and community dynamics, and the response of ecosystems to natural and human disturbance. Currently, I am engaged in development and implementation of the following research projects associated with priority issues in the SON traditional territory:

  • Effects of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on lake whitefish population(s) in Lake Huron
  • Larval fish nursery habitat evaluation in nearshore waters of the Great Lakes
  • Ecological factors associated with native and non-native salmonid population dynamics

2. Science in Natural Resource Management

Much of my service with Nawash/SON has been focused on their Nation-to-Nation resource management negotiations with Canada (Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission), Ontario (Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment), as well as Industry and Environmental NGOs. Consistently, one of the major issues in these negotiations is the quality of science in management decision-making - especially as it relates to role of hypotheses and empirical evidence to evaluate uncertainty in (a) states of nature, and (b) consequences of proposed management actions (e.g., fisheries harvests, habitat alteration, cooling water intake systems). Currently, I am engaged in development and implementation of the following research projects associated with priority issues in the SON traditional territory:

  • Determination of safe harvest limits for Lake Huron fisheries
  • Re-incorporation of 'fish habitat' protection in the Canadian Fisheries Act
  • Development of Canadian regulatory framework for nuclear power plant entrainment/impingement

3. Indigenous-Western Science Knowledge Systems

When Nawash requested me to critically examine the theoretical and practical basis for engagement between their traditional knowledge holders and 'Western' scientists/managers, I had no idea about the depth and breadth of these issues. I was very fortunate to receive strategic support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada that enabled me to establish insightful collaborations with Ojibway, Haudenosaunee and Maori scholars who helped me begin to recognize the fundamental concept of knowledge systems in both Indigenous and Science cultural dynamics. Currently, I am engaged in a research program with Dr. Jeji Varghese (UG Sociology) with the following research projects:

  • Knowledge Systems as a practical framework for cross-cultural, multidisciplinary engagement
  • Cultural history and relevance of 'Western' science for modern Indigenous communities
  • Survey of Western scholars' understanding of science in theory and practice
  • Rigorous examination of published scientific knowledge: polar bear population ecology as a case study

Selected Publications

Ryan, K.M. & S.S. Crawford. 2014. Distribution and abundance of larval lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in Stokes Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research. (in press)

LaRiviere, C.M. & S.S. Crawford. 2013. Indigenous principles of wild harvest and management: an Ojibway community as a case study. Human Ecology 41: 947-960.

Harford, W.J., A.M. Muir, C. Harpur, S.S. Crawford, S. Parker & N.E. Mandrak. 2012. Seasonal distribution of bloater (Coregonus hoyi) in the waters of Lake Huron surrounding the Bruce Peninsula. Journal of Great Lakes Research 38: 381-389.

Lukey, J.R., S.S. Crawford, D.J. Gillis & M.G. Gillespie. 2010b. Effect of ecological uncertainty on species at risk decision-making: COSEWIC expert opinion as a case study. Animal Conservation 14: 151-157.

Lukey, J.R., S.S. Crawford & D. Gillis. 2010a. Effect of information availability on assessment and designation of species at risk. Conservation Biology 24: 1396-1406.

Crawford, S., C.A. Wehkamp & N. Smith. 2010a. Translation of Indigenous/Western science perspectives on Adaptive Management for environmental assessments, Report prepared for the Research and Development Monograph Series 2009, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 65pp.

Naumann, B.T. & S.S. Crawford. 2009. Is it possible to identify habitat for a rare species? Shortjaw Cisco (Coregonus zenithicus) in Lake Huron as a case study. Environmental Biology of Fishes 86: 341-348.

Lukey, J.R. & S.S. Crawford. 2009. Consistency of COSEWIC species at risk designations: freshwater fishes as a case study. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66: 959-971.

Crawford, S. 2009. Matauranga Maori and Western science: the importance of hypotheses, predictions and protocols. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 39: 163-166.

Clemens, B.J. & S.S. Crawford. 2009. The ecology of body size and depth use by bloater (Coregonus hoyi Gill) in the Laurentian Great Lakes: patterns and hypotheses. Reviews in Fisheries Science 17: 174-186.

Crawford, S.S. & A.M. Muir. 2008. Global introductions of salmon and trout in the genus Oncorhynchus: 1870-2007 Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 18: 314-344.

Crawford, S.S. 2006. Effects of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on First Nations' fisheries. pp. 132, A background discussion paper prepared for Assembly of First Nations. Prepared by Stephen S. Crawford, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario. 10 March 2006.

Akiwenzie, R. & R. Roote. 2004. Jumping to conclusions: GLFC, conflict of interest and the problem of stocking exotic salmon in the Great Lakes. . pp. 29, A Saugeen Ojibway discussion paper presented at the IAGLR (International Association for Great Lakes Research) 2004 Conference, 24-28 May 2004, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.

Holmes, J.A., D.L.G. Noakes, S.S. Crawford & D.A. Wismer. 2002a. Lake whitefish and round whitefish biology: a review of ecological factors important to growth, survival, and reproduction. pp. 118+, Report prepared in support of Whitefish Interactions with Nuclear Generating Stations (WINGS) for Ontario Power Generation - Nuclear, Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and Bruce Power. Axelrod Institute of Ichthyology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada., Guelph, ON.

Holmes, J.A., D.L.G. Noakes, S.S. Crawford & D.A. Wismer. 2002b. Aquatic effects of nuclear generating stations on fishes. pp. 171+, Report prepared in support of Whitefish Interactions with Nuclear Generating Stations (WINGS) for Ontario Power Generation - Nuclear, Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and Bruce Power. Axelrod Institute of Ichthyology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada., Guelph, ON.

Crawford, S.S. 2001. Salmonine introductions to the Laurentian Great Lakes: an historical review and evaluation of ecological effects. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 132. 205 pp.

Crawford, S.S. & B. Morito. 1997. Comment: toward a definition of conservation principles for fisheries management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 2720-2723.

Crawford, S.S. 1996. A biological review and evaluation of the OMNR Lake Huron Management Unit Commercial Fisheries Management Program: a report prepared for Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. pp. 217+appendices.


BIOL*4500 Natural Resource Policy Analysis


UG Aboriginal Resource Centre
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office
Chiefs of Ontario - Environment Sector
Assembly of Fist Nations - Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management
Fish-WIKS (Fisheries - Western and Indigenous Knowledge Systems) Program


Symposium: Engagement of Indigenous and Western Science Knowledge Systems (9 Jun 2015, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada)

Symposium: Māori-Western Science Knowledge System Engagement (6 May 2015, Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand)