Peter Lawton, Ph.D.

Peter Lawton, Ph.D.
Bedford Institute of Oceanography B606
1 Challenger Drive, PO Box 1006
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia  B2Y 4A2
Tel.: (506) 529-5919
  • Research Scientist, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, Biological Station, Saint Andrews, New Brunswick
  • Executive Director, Centre for Marine Biodiversity


  • B.Sc. Environmental Science (University of Bradford, UK)
  • Ph.D. Marine Zoology (University of Wales, UK) s)

Research Interests:

I am a Research Scientist for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. I serve as Executive Director of the Centre for Marine Biodiversity and as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Gulf of Maine Discovery Corridor.

I have worked extensively on invertebrate fisheries ecology in university and government settings in the United Kingdom, United States, and, since 1989, in Canada. My research for the DFO has emphasized the linkage of marine ecological and marine geological approaches in the description and analysis of marine benthic habitat structure, principally in connection with evaluating habitat suitability and sensitivity for commercial invertebrates, such as lobster, crabs and sea urchins. Starting in 2002 I have been redirecting this research program to assessing marine biodiversity in support of ecosystem-based management.

I have broad field research experience, using both in situ (e.g. diving and submersibles) and remote (deployed video and acoustic) marine technologies and survey approaches to evaluate benthic habitat in depths ranging from the intertidal to 2500m. In connection with the development of custom benthic video survey systems and use of a variety of biological and marine geological – data sources, my research teams and collaborations have resulted in a comprehensive information systems capability.

In addition to my marine ecological research, I have led Canadian invertebrate fishery stock assessments for lobster, crab, and sea urchins in the Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine area from 1996-2002. I am still involved in several aspects of Canadian and US lobster fishery evaluations.

Selected publications:

  • Lawton, P., MacIntyre, A.D., Robichaud, D.A., and Strong, M.B. 2005. Preliminary studies on coastal habitat occupancy by lobsters, Homarus americanus, in relation to dredge spoil disposal in the approaches to Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2718: iv + 23 p
  • Strong M.B., and Lawton, P. 2004. URCHIN – Manually-deployed geo-referenced video system for Underwater Reconnaissance and Coastal Habitat Inventory. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2553: iv + 28 p.
  • Lawton, P., Robichaud, D.A., Strong, M.B., Pezzack, D.S., and C.F. Frail. 2001a. Spatial and temporal trends in the American lobster, Homarus americanus, fishery in the Bay of Fundy (Lobster Fishing Areas 35, 36, and 38). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2001/094.
  • Lawton, P., Robichaud, D.A., Rangeley, R.W., and M.B. Strong. 2001b. American lobster, Homarus americanus, population characteristics in the lower Bay of Fundy (Lobster Fishing Areas 36 and 38) based on fishery independent sampling. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2001/0
  • Robichaud, D.A., and Lawton, P. 1997. Seasonal movements and dispersal of American lobsters, Homarus americanus, released in the upper Bay of Fundy, 1992. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2153: iii + 21 p. 93.
  • Lawton, P., and Lavalli, K.L. 1995. Postlarval, juvenile, adolescent, and adult ecology. Pages 47-88. In J.R. Factor (ed.) Biology of the Lobster Homarus americanus. Chapter 4. Academic Press, San Diego, California