Research Interests

Loo’s laboratory primarily uses population models to investigate aspects of the population dynamics of marine species. His research aims generally focus on the application of population dynamics to fisheries conservation biology and the impact of management tools such as marine protected areas (MPAs). The underlying principles of reserve design are investigated in the context of predicting the sustainability of populations. Loo is also interested in the consequences of movement, such as larval transport and dispersal, on population structure and yield. Additionally, he works on how environmental variables influence population dynamics, and how environmental fluctuations may impact the sustainability of marine populations.

Study Systems

Loo’s work focuses chiefly on a diverse array of different marine populations. These range from invertebrates such as urchin, crab and planktonic species, to commercially important fish species such as rockfishes and Pacific salmon species.


Various types of population models are used in concert with existing data sets on survival, growth rates, age, size, structure and spatial distributions of a population to answer questions about population dynamics or predict the effects of MPA design. Some models also include aspects of behavior, such as movement rates or dispersal, as well as various aspects about environmental conditions or habitat changes to better inform predictions.

Selected Publications

White, J. W., Botsford, L. W., Baskett, M. L., Barnett, L. A. K., Barr, R. J. and Hastings, A. 2011. Linking models with monitoring data for assessing performance of no-take marine reserves. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 390-399.

O'Farrell, M. R. and L. W. Botsford. 2006. Estimating the status of nearshore rockfish (Sebastes spp.) with length frequency data. Ecological Applications 16: 977-986.

Kaplan, D.M., Botsford L. W. and Jorgensen, S. 2006 Dispersal per recruit: an efficient method for assessing sustainability in marine reserve networks. Ecological Applications 16: 2248-2263.

Kaplan, D. M. and Botsford, L. W. 2005. Effects of variability in spacing of coastal marine reserves on fisheries yield and sustainability. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62: 905-912.

Botsford, L. W., Micheli, F. and Hastings, A. 2003. Principles for the design of marine reserves. Ecological Applications 13: S25-S31.

Botsford, L. W., Hastings, A. and Gaines, S. D. 2001. Dependence of sustainability on the configuration of marine reserves and larval dispersal distance. Ecology Letters 4: 144-150.