Callum Roberts

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Callum Roberts
Professor Callum Roberts.jpg
Alma materUniversity of York
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of York
ThesisAspects of coral reef fish community structure in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea and on the Great Barrier Reef (1986)

Callum Michael Roberts is a marine conservation biologist, oceanographer, author, research scholar at the University of York, England.[1]


Roberts' work examines the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. In St. Lucia and Saba in the Caribbean, he has studied the effects of marine reserves closed to all fishing. His studies revealed both the scale of human impacts on the sea, and the means of protecting marine ecosystems from such effects. He is now working to gain a wider acceptance for marine reserves, including in Britain and Europe where he is advising fishermen on how to promote the concept within the industry and to politicians.

Callum has served on a US National Research Council Committee on Marine Protected Areas and has also been a member of the Marine Reserves Working Group, headed up by Jane Lubchenco, Steve Gaines and Steve Palumbi at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara. With this group he sought to develop a more robust theoretical underpinning for the design and implementation of marine reserves.

In parallel with work on reserves, Callum has also been active with the Coral Reef Fish Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). With colleagues, he has developed global maps of the biodiversity distribution of reef fishes and other faunal groups. These maps have revealed that marine species are more at risk of global extinction than previously believed. Many have small geographic ranges and life history characteristics that render them vulnerable to extinction. However, the maps also show ways to prioritise conservation investment into areas where those resources could be most effective.

He was awarded a Pew fellowship in marine conservation in 2000 to tackle obstacles to implementing marine reserves, and in 2001 he was awarded a Hardy fellowship in conservation biology at Harvard University. Roberts is also an active supporter of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.

Since 2011 Roberts has written occasional opinion editorials for The Guardian[2] on various marine conservation topics, including overfishing.[3] He also appeared in the documentary film, The End of the Line (2009).

IUCN Database[edit]

Roberts has also played a major role in creating a global database of coral reef fish biodiversity, in collaboration with members of the IUCN Coral Reef Fish Specialist Group, Chaired by Dr Don McAllister (Ocean Voice International) and Patty Almada-Villela. The project has significantly advanced understanding of the global patterns and determinants of marine biological diversity and provided urgently needed information to establish and guide conservation priorities for the tropical marine environment.

Other work[edit]

1999-2003. Member of editorial board of Conservation Biology, published by the Society for Conservation Biology.

1997-2000. Member of Editorial board of journal Animal Conservation, published by Cambridge University Press.

1996. Senior editor of the proceedings of a symposium: “Marine reserves: Function and Design” held at the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, Panama.

1991-1996. Co-editor of Reef Encounter, Newsletter of the International Society for Reef Studies.


  1. ^ "Callum Roberts". The University of York. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Callum Roberts". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. ^ "We knew fish catches were too high. But it's much worse than we thought". The Guardian. 21 January 2016. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 January 2016.