Senior Scientist, Principal
Bob Spies has 35 years experience in applied marine ecology and its application to management. He has investigated the fate and effects of radionuclides, petroleum hydrocarbons, and chlorinated hydrocarbons in marine ecosystems. Specific research projects conducted over his career have included investigations into the effects of organic contaminants on endocrinology and reproduction of starry flounder in San Francisco Bay and kelp bass in southern California, alterations of benthic communities by petroleum seepage, and benthic-pelagic transfer of contaminants in marine foodwebs, to name just a few. Bob has also coordinated or assisted in the management of large restoration and conservation programs for agencies at all levels. Major tasks undertaken included serving as Chief Science Advisor to governments on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Program, advisor to the Calfed Program to restore aquatic ecosystem functions in the Central Valley of California, and Director of the Alaska SeaLife Center, which is dedicated to studying the causes of decline in North Pacific marine mammal and bird populations.
2016. with Burns, K.A. and M. Mukhtasor. 2017. The Montara Oil Spill: A 2009 well blowout in the Timor Sea”. Archiv. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. (in press).
2016. with S. Senner and C.S. Robbins. 2016.An overview of the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Gulf of Mexico Science. 33: 98-121.
2012. with Peterson, C.H. and 20 other co-authors. A tale of two spills: Novel science and policy implications of an emerging new oil spill model. Bioscience 62: 461-469.
2008. Kondolf, G.M., Angermeier, P.L., Cummins, K., Dunne, T., Healey, M., Kimmerer, W. , Moyle, P.B., Murphy, D. , Patten, D., Railsback, S., Reed, D.J., Spies, R., Twiss, R. Projecting cumulative benefits of multiple river restoration projects: An example from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system in California. Environ. Manag. 42: 933-945.
2007. Oros, D.R., J.R.M. Ross, R.B. Spies and T. Mumley. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in San Francisco Bay: A 10-year retrospective of monitoring in an urbanized estuary. Environ. Res. 105: 101-118.
2006. Thompson, B., et al., Biological effects of anthropogenic contaminants in the San Francisco Estuary. Environ. Res. 105: 145-155.
2006. Spies, R.B. (editor/author). Long-term ecological change in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 589 pp. (several chapters written by R. Spies).
2005. P.R. Mundy and R. Spies. Introduction, pp. 1-14, in The Gulf of Alaska. Biology and Oceanography, Alaska Sea Grant Publication, Fairbanks Alaska, 214 pp.
1997 R.B. Spies and P. Thomas. Reproductive and endocrine status of mature female kelp bass Paralabrax clathratus from a contaminated site in the Southern California Bight and estrogen receptor binding of DDTs, Chapter 9, in Chemically-induced alterations in functional development and reproduction of fishes, R.M. Rolland, M. Gilbertson and R.E. Peterson (Eds.) Society of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Technical Publication Series, SETAC Press, Pensacola, Fl.
1997. A.J.Gunther, R.B. Spies, J.J. Stegeman, B. Woodin, D. Carney, J. Oakden, and L. Hain. 1997. EROD activity as an independent measure of contaminant-induced mortality of invertebrates in sediment bioassays. Mar. Environ. Res. 44:41-49.
1996. R. B. Spies, S. D. Rice, D. A. Wolfe and B. A.Wright. The effects of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill on the Alaskan Coastal environment, pp. 1-16, in: Rice, S.D., R.B. Spies, D.A. Wolfe, and B.A. Wright (Eds.) Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Proceedings, Anchorage, Alaska, 2-5 February 1993. American Fisheries Society Symposium No. 18.
1996. R.B. Spies, P. Thomas, and M. Matsui. 1996. Effects of DDT and PCB on reproductive endocrinology of Paralabrax clathratus in southern California. Mar. Environ. Res. 42, 175-176. (abstract)
1996 R.B. Spies, R.B., J.J. Stegeman, D.E. Hinton, B. Woodin, M. Okihiro, R. Smolowitz and D. Shea. Biomarkers of hydrocarbon exposure and sublethal effects in embiotocid fishes from a natural petroleum seep in the Santa Barbara Channel. Aquatic Toxicol. 34:195-219.
1995. R. Spies. Restoring Prince William Sound. Science 269, 1328-1329. (letter)
1994 D.W. Rice, C.B. Seltenrich, M.L. Keller, .R.B. Spies, and J.S. Felton. Mixed-function oxidase-specific activity in wild and caged speckled sandabs Citharichtys stigmaeus in Elkhorn Slough. Environ. Poll. 84, 179-188.
1993 R.B. Spies. So why can’t science tell us more about the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill ?, pp. 1-5, In: Exxon Valdez oil spill symposium, EVOS Trustee Council, Anchorage Alaska.
1993. D.W. Rice, Seltenrich, C.P., Keller, M.L., Spies, R.B., Felton, J.S. Seasonal and annual distribution of organic contaminants in marine sediments from Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing Harbor and nearshore Monterey Bay, California. Environmental Pollution 82: 79-91.
1993. J.W. Anderson, D.J. Reish, R.B. Spies, M.E. Brady and E.W. Segelhorst. Human impacts, pp. 682-766, In: Ecology of the Southern California Bight (M.D. Daily, J.W. Anderson, and D.J. Reish, eds.) University of California Press, Berkeley, 926 pp.
1992 M.J. Melanacon, R. Alscher, W. Benson, G. Kruzynski, R.F. Lee, H.C. Sikka, R.B. Spies. Metabolic products as biomarkers, In: Biomarkers: Biochemical, physiological and hstological markers of anthropogenic stress (Huggett et al., Eds) Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida.
1990 J.E. Bauer, R.B. Spies, J. S. Vogel, D.E. Nelson and J.R. Southon. Radiochemical evidence of fossil hydrocarbon cycling in sediments of a nearshore hydrocarbon seep. Nature 348, 230-232.
1990 R.B. Spies, J.J. Stegeman, D.W. Rice, Jr., B. Woodin, P. Thomas, J.E. Hose, J. Cross and M. Prieto. Sublethal responses of Platichthys stellatus to organic contamination in San Francisco Bay with emphasis on reproduction, pp. 87-122, in Biological Markers of Environmental Contamination. Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, Michigan .
1989 R.B. Spies, D.W. Rice Jr., P.J. Thomas, J.J. Stegeman, J.N. Cross and J.E. Hose. A field test for correlates of poor reproductive success and genetic damage in contaminated populations of starry flounder, Platichthys stellatus. Mar. Environ. Res. 28: 542-543.
1989 R. B. Spies, H. Kruger, R. Ireland and D.W. Rice, Jr. Stable isotope isotope ratios and contaminant concentrations in a sewage-distorted food web. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 54, 157-170.
1989 R.B. Spies, J.E. Bauer and D. H. Hardin. A stable isotope study of sedimentary carbon utilization by Capitella spp.: effects of two carbon sources and geochemical conditions during their diagenesis Mar. Biol. 101: 68-74.
1989 R.B. Spies, D.D. Hardin and J.P. Toal. Organic enrichment or toxicity? A comparison of the effects of kelp and crude oil in sediments on the colonization and growth of benthic infauna. J. Exp. Mar. Ecol. 124, 261-282.
1988 D.J. H. Phillips and R.B. Spies. Chlorinated hydrocarbons in the San Francisco estuarine ecosystem. Mar. Poll. Bull. 19, 445-453.
1988 J.E. Bauer, P.A. Montagna, R.B. Spies, D.H. Hardin and M. Prieto. Microbial
biogeochemistry and heterotrophy in sediments of a marine hydrocarbon seep. Limnol.
Oceanogr. 33, 1493-1513.
1988 R.B. Spies and D.W. Rice, Jr. The effects of organic contaminants on reproduction of starry flounder, Platichthys stellatus (Pallas) in San Francisco Bay. Part II. Reproductive success of fish captured in San Francisco Bay and spawned in the laboratory. Mar. Biol. 98, 191-202.
1988 R. B. Spies, D.W. Rice, Jr. and J.W. Felton. The effects of organic contaminants
on reproduction of starry flounder, Platichthys stellatus (Pallas) in San Francisco Bay. Part I. Hepatic contamination and mixed-function oxidase (MFO) activity during the reproductive season. Mar. Biol. 98, 181-189.
1987 Melzian, B. D., Zoffman, C. and R.B. Spies. Chlorinated hydrocarbons in lower
continental shelf fish collected near the Farallon Islands, California. Mar. Poll. Bull. 18,
1987 P.A. Montagna, J.E. Bauer, J. Toal, D.H. Hardin and R.B. Spies. Temporal variability and the relationship between benthic meiofaunal and microbial populations in a natural coastal petroleum seep. J. Mar. Res . 45, 761-789.
1987 R. B. Spies , B. Andresen and D.W. Rice, Jr. Benzthiazoles in estuarine sediments as indicators of street runoff. Nature 327: 697-699.
1987 R. B. Spies. The biological effects of petroleum hydrocarbons in the sea: Assessments from field and microcosms, pp. 411-467 in: Long-term environmental effects of offshore oil and gas development. D.F. Boesch and N.N. Rabalais, Eds. Elsevier-Applied Sciences, London.
1986 P.A. Montagna, J.E. Bauer, M.C. Prieto, D.H. Hardin and R. B. Spies. Benthic metabolism in a natural coastal petroleum seep. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 34, 31-40.
1985. P.A. Montagna and R.B. Spies. Meiofauna and chlorophyll associated with Beggiatoa mats of a natural submarine petroleum seeps. Mar. Environ. Res. 16, 231-242.
1984 R.B. Spies. Benthic-pelagic coupling in sewage affected ecosystems. Mar. Environm. Res. 13, 195-230.
1983 R.B. Spies and D.J. DesMarais. Natural isotope study of trophic enrichment of
marine benthic communities by petroleum seepage. Mar. Biol. 73, 67-71.
1982 D.H. Steurmer, R.B. Spies, P.H. Davis, D.J. Ng, C.J. Morris and S. Neal. The
hydrocarbon chemistry of the Isla Vista Marine Seep Environment. Mar. Chem. 11, 413-426.
1982 R.B. Spies, J.S.Felton and L.J. Dillard. Hepatic mixed-function oxidases in California flatfish are increased in contaminated environments and by oil and PCB ingestion. Mar. Biol. 70, 117-127.
1982 R.B. Spies and P.H. Davis. Toxicity of Santa Barbara seep oil to starfish embryos. III. Influence of parental exposure and the effects of other crude oils. Mar. Environ. Res. 6, 3-11.
1981 D.H. Steurmer, R.B. Spies and P.H. Davis. Toxicity of Santa Barbara seep oil to
starfish embryos. I. Hydrocarbon composition of test solutions and field samples. Mar. Environ. Res . 5, 275-286.
1981 R. B. Spies, K. Marsh and J. R. Kercher. Dynamics of radionuclide exchange in
the calcareous algae Halimeda at Enewetak Atoll. Limnol. Oceanogr. 26, 74-85.
1980 P.H. Davis and R.B. Spies. Infaunal benthos of a natural petroleum seep: a study of community structure. Mar. Biol. 59, 31-41.
1980 R.B. Spies, P.H. Davis and D. Stuermer. Ecology of a petroleum seep off the
California coast. in Marine Environmental Pollution (R. Geyer, Ed.). Elsevier,
Amsterdam, pp. 229-263.
1975 R.B. Spies Structure and function of the head of flabelligerid polychaetes.
J. Morph . 147, 187-208.