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.
Spies RB, Burns, KA. and Mukhtasor M, 2017, The Montara Oil Spill: A 2009 well blowout in the Timor Sea. Archiv. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 73(1):55-62
Spies RB, Senner S, and Robbins CS, 2016, An overview of the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Gulf of Mexico Science. 33: 98-121.
Spies RB, Peterson, C, and 20 other co-authors. 2012, A tale of two spills: Novel science and policy implications of an emerging new oil spill model, Bioscience 62: 461-469.
Kondolf GM, Angermeier PL, Cummins K, Dunne T, Healey M, Kimmerer W, Moyle PB, Murphy D, Patten D, Railsback S, Reed DJ, Spies RB, Twiss R, 2008, Projecting cumulative benefits of multiple river restoration projects: An example from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system in California, Environ. Manag. 42: 933-945.
Oros, DR, Ross JRM, Spies RB and Mumley T, 2007, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in San Francisco Bay: A 10-year retrospective of monitoring in an urbanized estuary. Environ. Res. 105: 101-118.
Thompson, B., et al.,2006, Biological effects of anthropogenic contaminants in the San Francisco Estuary. Environ. Res. 105: 145-155.
Spies RB. (editor/author) 2006, Long-term ecological change in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 589 pp. (several chapters written by R. Spies).
Mundy PR, and Spies RB, 2005, Introduction, pp. 1-14, in The Gulf of Alaska. Biology and Oceanography, Alaska Sea Grant Publication, Fairbanks Alaska, 214 pp.
Spies RB and Thomas P, 1997, 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.
Gunther AJ, Spies RB, Stegeman JJ, Woodin B, Carney D, Oakden J, and Hain L, 1997. EROD activity as an independent measure of contaminant-induced mortality of invertebrates in sediment bioassays. Mar. Environ. Res. 44:41-49.
Spies RB, Rice SD, Wolfe DA, and Wright BA, 1996, The effects of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill on the Alaskan Coastal environment, pp. 1-16, in: Rice, S.D.,Spies RB, 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.
Spies RB, Thomas P, and Matsui M, 1996. Effects of DDT and PCB on reproductive endocrinology of Paralabrax clathratus in southern California. Mar. Environ. Res. 42, 175-176. (abstract)
Spies RB, Stegeman JJ, Hinton DE, Woodin B, Okihiro M, Smolowitz R, and Shea D, 1996, 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.
Spies RB. 1995, Restoring Prince William Sound. Science 269, 1328-1329. (letter)
Rice DW, Seltenrich CB, Keller ML, Spies RB, and Felton JS, 1994, Mixed-function oxidase-specific activity in wild and caged speckled sandabs Citharichtys stigmaeus in Elkhorn Slough. Environ. Poll. 84, 179-188.
Spies RB, 1993, 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.
Rice DW, Seltenrich CP, Keller ML, Spies RB, Felton JS, 1993, 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.
Anderson JW, Reish DJ, Spies RB, Brady ME, and Segelhors EW, 1993, 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.
Melanacon MJ, Alscher R, Benson W, Kruzynski G, Lee RF, Sikka HC, Spies RB, 1992, Metabolic products as biomarkers, In: Biomarkers: Biochemical, physiological and hstological markers of anthropogenic stress (Huggett et al., Eds) Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida.
Bauer JE, Spies RB, Vogel JS, Nelson DE, and Southon JR, 1990, Radiochemical evidence of fossil hydrocarbon cycling in sediments of a nearshore hydrocarbon seep. Nature 348, 230-232.
Spies RB, Stegeman JJ, Rice Jr. DW, Woodin B, Thomas P, Hose JE, Cross J, and Prieto M, 1990, 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 .
Spies RB, Rice Jr. DW, Thomas PJ, Stegeman JJ, Cross JN, and Hose JE, 1989, 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.
Spies RB, Kruger H, Ireland R, Rice Jr. DW 1989, Stable isotope isotope ratios and contaminant concentrations in a sewage-distorted food web, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 54, 157-170.
Spies RB, Bauer JE, and Hardin DH, 1989, 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.
Spies RB, Hardin DH, Toal JP,. 1989, 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.
Phillips DJH, and Spies, RB, 1988, Chlorinated hydrocarbons in the San Francisco estuarine ecosystem, Mar. Poll. Bull. 19, 445-453.
Bauer JE, Montagna, PA, Spies RB, Hardin DH, Prieto M, 1988, Microbial biogeochemistry and heterotrophy in sediments of a marine hydrocarbon seep, Limnol. Oceanogr. 33, 1493-1513.
Spies RB, Rice Jr. DW, 1988, 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.
Spies RB, Rice Jr. DW, Felton JW, 1988, 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.
Melzian, BD, Zoffma C, Spies RB, 1987, Chlorinated hydrocarbons in lower continental shelf fish collected near the Farallon Islands, California, Mar. Poll. Bull. 18, 388-393.
1987 P.A. Montagna, J.E. Bauer, J. Toal, D.H. Hardin and Spies RB. Temporal variability and the relationship between benthic meiofaunal and microbial populations in a natural coastal petroleum seep, J. Mar. Res . 45, 761-789.
Spies RB, B. Andresen and D.W. Rice, Jr. 1987, Benzthiazoles in estuarine sediments as indicators of street runoff, Nature 327: 697-699.
Spies RB, 1987, 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.
Montagna PA, Bauer JE, Prieto MC, Hardin DH, and Spies RB, 1986, Benthic metabolism in a natural coastal petroleum seep, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 34, 31-40.
Montagna PA and Spies RB, 1985, Meiofauna and chlorophyll associated with Beggiatoa mats of a natural submarine petroleum seeps, Mar. Environ. Res. 16, 231-242.
Spies RB, 1984, Benthic-pelagic coupling in sewage affected ecosystems, Mar. Environ. Res. 13, 195-230.
Spies RB and DesMarais DJ, 1983, Natural isotope study of trophic enrichment of marine benthic communities by petroleum seepage, Mar. Biol. 73, 67-71. Steurmer DH, Spies RB, Davis PH, Ng DJ, Morris, CJ, and Neal S, 1982, The hydrocarbon chemistry of the Isla Vista Marine Seep Environment, Mar. Chem. 11, 413-426.
Spies RB, Felton JS, and Dillard LJ, 1982, Hepatic mixed-function oxidases in California flatfish are increased in contaminated environments and by oil and PCB ingestion. Mar. Biol. 70, 117-127.
Spies RB and Davis PH, 1982, 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.
Steurmer DH, Spies RB and Davis PH, 1981, Toxicity of Santa Barbara seep oil to starfish embryos. I. Hydrocarbon composition of test solutions and field samples, Mar. Environ. Res. 5, 275-286.
Spies RB, Marsh K, Kercher JR, 1981, Dynamics of radionuclide exchange in the calcareous algae Halimeda at Enewetak Atoll, Limnol. Oceanogr. 26, 74-85.
Davis PH, and Spies RB, 1980, Infaunal benthos of a natural petroleum seep: a study of community structure, Mar. Biol. 59, 31-41. Spies RB, Davis PH, Stuermer D, 1980, Ecology of a petroleum seep off the California coast. in Marine Environmental Pollution (R. Geyer, Ed.). Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 229-263.
Spies RB, 1975, Structure and function of the head of flabelligerid polychaetes, J. Morph . 147, 187-208.