Project Investigator: Steve Crawford

I am an Associate Professor in Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Since 2005, my faculty position has been co-sponsored by the University of Guelph and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation - an Indigenous community on the shores of Lake Huron, one of the Laurentian Great Lakes in North America. My Service and Research is focussed on the needs of Nawash and the Saugeen First Nation (collectively referred to as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation), as they manage a variety of environmental and ecological files in their territory.

Research Program

My research program is divided into three major themes that vary over time in response to specific needs by Nawash 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.

2. Science in Natural Resource Management

One of the major issues that challenges Canadian resource management is the degree to which the Science knowledge system is actually used in decision-making for fisheries management and environmental assessments. I conduct research that is specifically focussed on the role of hypotheses and empirical evidence to evaluate uncertainty in (a) states of nature, and (b) consequences of proposed management actions.

3. Indigenous-Western Science Knowledge Systems

When Nawash first 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 work with colleagues in the social sciences, and to establish insightful collaborations with Ojibway, Haudenosaunee and Māori scholars who helped me to recognize the fundamental concept of knowledge systems in both Indigenous and Science cultural dynamics. Of particular importance for the White Pointer research project, our research program hosted a paired 2015 international symposia focussing on the Canadian and New Zealand Crowns' Duty for Meaningful Consultation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Assessments:


Selected Publications

  • Eberts, R.L., Wissel, B., Simpson, G.L., Crawford, S.S., Stott, W., Hanner, R.H., Manzon, R.G., Wilson, J.Y., Borehamn, D.R., and Somers, C.M. 2017. Isotopic structure of lake whitefish in Lake Huron: evidence for regional and local populations based on resource use. North American Journal of Fisheries Management: 37(1): 133-148.
  • Overdyk, L.M., Holm, E., Crawford, S.S., and Hanner, R.H. 2016. Increased taxonomic resolution of Laurentian Great Lakes ichthyoplankton through DNA barcoding: a case study comparison against visual identification of larval fishes from Stokes Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 42: 812-818.
  • 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: 40(3): 755-762.
  • 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..
  • Lukey, J.R., S.S. Crawford, D.J. Gillis & M.G. Gillespie. 2010. 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. 2010. Effect of information availability on assessment and designation of species at risk. Conservation Biology 24: 1396-1406.
  • Crawford, S., C.A. Wehkamp & N. Smith. 2010. 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.
  • 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.