faculty listing

A Photo of  Peter Westley

Contact Information

School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
233 O'Neill
University of Alaska Fairbanks
905 N. Koyukuk Drive
P.O. Box 757220
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7220
Phone: (907) 474-7458
Fax: (907) 474-7204

Peter Westley Assistant Professor

Fisheries and Conservation • Fisheries Ecology


  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Life history evolution
  • Dispersal and philopatry
  • Contemporary evolution
  • Aquatic invasions and colonization
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics


  • B.S. 2004 University of Washington (Fisheries)
  • M.S. 2007 University of Washington (Fisheries)
  • Ph.D. 2012 Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada (Biology)
  • Post.Doc. 2012 University of Washington (Fisheries)

Office Hours

Open door policy. Feel free to come by

Research Overview

We live in the Anthropocene, where global ecology is dominated by human activity. My research seeks to understand how fishes respond and adapt to abrupt environmental change across levels of biological organization.

Work in my lab addresses this overarching question through the combination of field, laboratory, meta-analysis, and modeling approaches.

Additionally, I have pending proposals to explore aspects of the pike invasion to Southcentral Alaska and to apply stage-specific salmon life cycle models to Western Alaska Chinook populations

Current Research Projects

  • Causes and consequences of chum salmon straying in Southeast Alaska
  • Adaptation of Bristol Bay sockeye salmon to a warming world
  • Collective navigation during homing migrations by salmonids
  • Evolutionary rescue as villain and savior in nature
  • Patterns and processes in straying by Pacific salmon and steelhead
  • Adaptive phenotypic plasticity and successful invasion



Selected publications:

Berdahl, A., P.A.H. Westley, S. Levin, I. Couzin, and T.P. Quinn. A collective navigation hypothesis for homeward migration in anadromous salmonids. Fish and Fisheries, in press.

Carlson, S.M., C. Cunningham, and P.A.H. Westley. 2014. Evolutionary rescue in a changing world. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29:521-530

Veinott, G., P.A.H Westley, C.F. Purchase, and L.Warner. 2014. Experimental evidence simultaneously confirms and contests assumptions implicit to otolith microchemistry research. CJFAS 71: 356-365

Westley, P.A.H.,R. Stanley, and I.A. Fleming. Experimental tests for heritable morphological color plasticity in non-native brown trout populations. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80401. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080401

Westley, P.A.H., T.P. Quinn, and A.H. Dittman. 2013. Straying by hatchery-produced Pacific salmon and steelhead differs among species, life history, and population. CJFAS: 70, 735-746

Oke, K†., P.A.H. Westley, D.T.R. Moreau, and I.A. Fleming. 2013. Hybridization between genetically-modified Atlantic salmon and wild brown trout reveals novel ecological interactions.Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 280: 20131047

Westley, P.A.H, E.J. Ward, and I.A. Fleming. 2012. Fine-scale local adaptation in an invasive freshwater fish has evolved in contemporary time. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 280: 20122327

Westley, P.A.H, C.M. Conway, and I.A. Fleming. 2012. Phenotypic divergence of exotic fish populations is shaped by spatial proximity and habitat differences across an invaded landscape. Evolutionary Ecology Research 14: 147-167.

Westley, P.A.H. and I.A. Fleming. 2011. Landscape factors that shape a slow and persistent biological invasion: brown trout in Newfoundland 1883-2010. Diversity & Distributions 17: 566-579.

Westley, P.A.H. 2011. What invasive species reveal about the rate and form of contemporary phenotypic change in nature. American Naturalist 177: 496-509.

Westley, P.A.H., D.E. Schindler, T.P. Quinn, G.R. Ruggerone, and R. Hilborn. 2010. Natural habitat change, commercial fishing, climate, and dispersal interact to restructure an Alaskan fish metacommunity. Oecologia 163: 471-484.