Rick Routledge, SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work 2009

Rick Routledge
SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work

The Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) today announced that the recipient of the SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work is Professor Rick Routledge of Simon Fraser University. This award recognizes outstanding contributions by SSC members in collaborative research and applications to a specific field outside of statistics.

Rick Routledge is renowned for his work on fish populations. Working with a team based at The Salmon Coast Research Station, he helped to prove how damaging sea lice flourishing near salmon farms can be to wild Pacific salmon. Juvenile pink salmon are particularly vulnerable before they get their scales. The team has also found sea lice on juvenile sockeye salmon and Pacific herring - two key species in the BC commercial fishery. The impact of this problem if not properly handled is staggering ? economically and ecologically. Professor Routledge has also worked extensively to translate his research results into new standards and better practices for BC fisheries. He served on two important Government Boards: the Fraser River Sockeye Review Board and the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. He has also recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Aquarium.


Professor Routledge is also developing knowledge with considerable potential impact in forest fire management. Working in the South Okanagan Valley, BC, he is analyzing charcoal deposits in lake sediment samples and fire-scarred trees to document forest fire history. His team is pioneering new techniques and comparing evidence of recent fire devastation with forest fire patterns in previous centuries. Results to date point to more frequent, smaller fires, and raise concerns about the 20th century emphasis on fire suppression.


Professor Rick Routledge, Past-Chair of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser University and Professor at SFU, received his Ph.D.in Mathematical and Statistical Ecology from Dalhousie University in 1975, following an M.Sc. in Mathematical Statistics from University of Alberta in 1972. His research interests are the development and use of stochastic models and statistical inference techniques with emphasis on applications to ecosystem research. Current projects also include an ecosystem study of juvenile sockeye salmon in Rivers and Smith inlets with a focus on the early marine phase of these severely depressed fish stocks. The inlets appear to provide critical but unstable habitat for the young salmon as they adjust to salt water. His major research project: "A multi-disciplinary research program on the Rivers Inlet ecosystem with auxiliary research on other coastal sockeye salmon ecosystems," is funded by the Tula Foundation. The Foundation and research team are working with the local Wuikinuxv First Nation and others to develop stewardship initiatives based on the research findings.

The citation for the award reads: 

To Rick Routledge, in recognition of his research on stochastic modeling, sampling and inference techniques for population ecology, for his research on the ecology of fish populations and for the major impact his work on Pacific salmon has had on aquatic science and public policy.