Whale of a Watcher

On March 20, 1920, American statistician Douglas George Chapman was born in Alberta, Canada. A professor of mathematical statistics, he became an expert on wildlife data. Chapman was Dean of the University of Washington College of Fisheries and directed the university’s Center For Quantitative Science In Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife.

He applied his special skills to estimating marine mammal populations and the dynamics of various marine life populations. Chapman’s data concerned him. They showed him that the whaling industry was removing more whales from the world’s oceans than the whale populations could sustain. He recommended a quota system that would limit the catch of whales and allow them to recover. Chapman understood that with good stewardship of oceanic resources, marine life could sustain their populations to ensure that both animals and industry could co-exist. Unfortunately, the whaling industry and its nation states have yet to reach a united global agreement on marine life issues.

Chapman studied current aquaculture programs – fish and mollusk “farming” – and involved himself in offshore salmon release experiments. He reviewed and analyzed other marine animal life – seals, sea lions, walrus, tuna, porpoise, and dolphins. Chapman wrote and co-authored books, reports, and papers that reviewed marine mammal census methods, discussed population dynamics and population distributions. His work addressed whale monitoring, sea otter aerial surveys, and the evaluation and development of ecosystem models.

A man who walked his talk, Chapman took on several responsibilities. He chaired the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee, the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission’s Scientific Committee, and the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission.


B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage

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