NOAA Fisheries Personnel Default Profile

Jason Link, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist for Ecosystem Management
Ecosystem-Based Management

Jason Link, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist for Ecosystem Management

Dr. Link is the Senior Scientist for Ecosystem Management. In this role, Dr. Link leads approaches and models to support development of ecosystem-based management plans and activities throughout the agency, serving as the agency’s senior-most authority on ecosystem science. Dr. Link has written several books and book chapters on the topic of Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management, has written over 190 peer-reviewed publications, over 300 reports, has over 250 published abstracts, and has convened over 10 major international symposia and summits on marine ecosystem management and modeling-related topics. Dr. Link has led the development of several strategic documents for NOAA and NMFS to improve and enhance mission-needed science. Dr. Link has been a champion of ecosystem science and ecosystem-based management, both as a discipline and as a practice, for resource management agencies in the U.S. and around the world, sitting on several international advisory boards and the editorial board of an international marine science journal.

Dr. Link has extensive experience working in marine and Great Lakes systems around the world. Dr. Link has helped to establish, develop and foster: National Ecosystem Modeling Workshops for NMFS; multiple interdisciplinary modeling teams; comprehensive and balanced energy budgets used directly in living marine resource management contexts; focused marine ecosystem condition and status reports in the U.S.; best practices for two internationally known and used ecosystem models; a tome to operationally characterize Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management; the NMFS EBFM Policy Statement and Road Map; dedicated ecosystem assessment programs in NMFS; the Climate Science Strategy; among others. The body of Dr. Link’s scientific has spanned both theoretical and applied aspects, particularly serving to further drive the development of: ecosystem indicators; pragmatic inclusion of trophic ecology and broader, ecosystem considerations directly into the resource management process; national and international definitions of Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management; wider consideration of complexity and systems perspectives; advancing food web theory; and global comparisons of marine ecosystem process, structure and function.  His science has particularly produced discoveries on: marine food web topology and parameterization as distinct from terrestrial food web theory; globally consistent patterns in marine ecosystem cumulative biomass distributions that have clear management application; and delineation of ecosystem overfishing thresholds applicable globally. 

Dr. Link remains committed to the next generation of scientists: formally mentoring dozens of NOAA personnel; championing various NOAA fellowship and training programs; teaching graduate-level courses; and serving on multiple graduate students committees. He continues to try to innovate as a science communicator: establishing the ability for complex ecosystem model output to be viewed in an animated world; developing various Ecosystem-based Management videos; and even producing the first ever comic strip published in a peer-reviewed marine science journal; among others. 

Dr. Link received his B.S. from Central Michigan University and his Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University. Dr. Link holds an adjunct faculty position at the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists and has received the Fisheries Society of the British Isles Medal for significant advances in fisheries science and a Department of Commerce Bronze medal.