Stephen Crawford

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x53544
SSC 2474
SSC 2405/2406

UG Indigenous-Science Knowledge System Curriculum

Crawford, S., A Chegahno, M. Buhr and J. Mishibinijima. 2009. ARM: An Innovative Collaboration to Create a B.Sc. in Indigenous Knowledge for Resource Management. University of Guelph Archival Manuscript.

New Indigenous Environmental Science Program Rooted in Indigenous Wisdom (UG News, 23 June 2021)



Recent Research

Varghese, J. & S.S. Crawford. 2021. A cultural framework for Indigenous, Local and Science knowledge systems in ecology and natural resource management. Ecological Monographs 91(1): e01431 [online]

'Rolling and rolling and rolling': the first detailed account of great white shark sex (The Guardian 04 Sep 2020)

Great white sharks 'personality' revealed (Radio New Zealand, 03 March 2020)  Download <Audio Recording = mp3>

Crawford, S.S. 2018. Conservation and Management of White Pointers (Great White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias) in Coastal Waters of Aotearoa/New Zealand: The Role of Māori, Local and Science Knowledge Systems


1985: B.Sc. Marine Biology (University of Guelph)

1987: M.Sc. Animal Behaviour (Queen's University)

1993: Ph.D. Environmental Embryology (University of Guelph)

1993-2004: Fisheries Management Biologist, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

2004-2009: CL Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (Sponsored Nawash-UG Faculty Position)

2009-2014: Tenure-Track Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (Sponsored Nawash-UG Faculty Position)

2014-2017: Tenured Associate Professor, Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (Sponsored Nawash-UG Faculty Position)

2017-Present: Tenured Associate Professor, Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

University of Guelph Research Partnership Nawash-University of Guelph Research Partnership Transcript (2005-2017)


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

Over my carreer, my research program was divided into three major themes that varied over time in response to 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. I was engaged in development and implementation of the following research projects associated with priority issues in the Great Lakes basin:

  • 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
  • Role of Local and Science knowledge systems in ecology/management of Muskellunge in SE Georgian Bay

2. Science in Natural Resource Management

Much of my professional history has been focused on Indigenous 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). I was engaged in development and implementation of the following research projects:

  • 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 I was first asked 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. I was 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
  • Canadian Crown's Duty to Consult Indigenous knowledge systems in EAs/resource management
  • Rigorous examination of published scientific knowledge: polar bear population ecology as a case study


Nawash-University of Guelph Research Partnership (2005-2017)

University of Guelph Research Publications

Nawash/Saugeen Ojibway Nation Fisheries Management Reports (1996-2009)

  • BIOL*1070 Introduction to Biodiversity
  • BIOL*1500 Humans in the Natural World
  • BIOL*2060 Ecology
  • BIOL*4500 Natural Resource Management
  • ZOOL*4300 Marine Biology & Oceanography Field Course (Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St Andrews, NB)