Graves Home Page

John E. Graves

Chancellor Professor of Marine Science

Email: [[graves]]
Phone: (804) 684-7352
Interests: Molecular evolution in marine environments; molecular technology to study population dynamics- billfish and tuna.
Office: Chesapeake Bay Hall N207
Department: Fisheries Science

  • B.A., University of California, San Diego
  • Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
Research Interests

Fisheries Genetics and Pelagic Fishes Program

My research interests are broadly focused on the processes of molecular evolution in the marine environment. In particular, my research program is directed toward 1) the use of molecular techniques to elucidate the population structure of marine organisms, with an emphasis on pelagic fishes; 2) the application of techniques in molecular genetics to help resolve problems in fishery science; and 3) the use of molecular genetic data to infer the evolutionary relationships. In addition, we have recently focused our research efforts to estimate the survival of billfish released from recreational and commercial fishing gear, and to devise means of reducing incidental bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery.

Current Projects
  • Population structure of Atlantic bluefin tuna
  • Phylogeny of istiophorid billfishes
  • Population structure of istiophorid billfishes
  • Post-release survival and habitat utilization of istiophorid billfishes
  • Post-release survival, seasonal movements, and habitat utilization of cobia
  • Post-release survival of  bluefin tuna
Selected Publications

2011 - Present

(**Undergraduate Student; *Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Fellow)     

  • Graves, J.E., *B.J. Marcek, and *W.M. Goldsmith. Effects of air exposure on postrelease mortality rates of white marlin caught in the U.S. offshore recreational fishery. N. Am. J. Fish. Management, in press.
  • *Reid, K., T.B. Hoareau, J.E. Graves, W.M. Potts, S.M.R. dos Santos, A.W. Klopper, and P. Bloomer. Directional selection with gene flow in a cosmopolitan marine fish across a persistent South Atlantic upwelling zone. J. Heredity, in press.
  •  *Marcek, B.J., M.C. Fabrizio, and J.E. Graves. Short term habitat use of juvenile Atlantic bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus. Marine Coastal Fisheries, in press.
  • *Schlenker, L.S., R.J. Latour, R.W. Brill, and J.E. Graves. 2016. Physiological stress and post-release mortality of White Marlin (Kajikia albida) caught in the United States recreational fishery. Conservation Physiology 4: doi:10.1093/conphys/cov066.
  • Horodysky, A.Z., S.J. Cooke, J.E. Graves, and R.W. Brill. 2016. Fisheries conservation on the high seas:  Linking conservation physiology and fisheries ecology for the management of large pelagic fishes.  Conservation Physiology 4: doi:10.1093/conphys/cov059.
  • Graves, J.E., and A.Z. Horodysky. 2015. Challenges of estimating post-release mortality of istiophorid billfishes caught in the recreational fishery: A review. Fisheries Research 166: 163-168.
  • Graves, J.E., and J.R. McDowell. 2015. Population structure of istiophorid billfishes.  Fisheries Research 166: 21-298.
  • Graves, J.E., A.S. Wozniak, R.M. Dickhut, M.A. Cochran, E.H. MacDonald, E. Bush, H. Arrizabalaga, and N. Goñi. 2015. Trans-Atlantic movements of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna inferred from analyses of organochlorine tracers. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 72:625-633.
  • *Hudson, J.M, D.K Steinberg, T.T. Sutton, J.E. Graves, and R. J. Latour.  2014.  Feeding Ecology and Carbon Transport along the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  Deep-Sea Research I 93:104-116.
  • *Marcek, B.J., and J.E. Graves. 2014. An estimate of post-release mortality of school-size Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus in the U.S. recreational troll fishery.  N. Am. J. Fish. Management 34:602-608.
  • *Sorenson, L., J.R. McDowell, T. Knot, and J.E. Graves. 2013.  Assignment test method using hypervariable markers for blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) stock identification. Conservation Genetics Resources 5:293-297.
  • *Verissimo, A., J.R. McDowell, and J.E. Graves. 2012. Genetic population structure and connectivity in a commercially exploited and wide-ranging deepwater shark, the leafscale gulper Centrophorus squamosus. Mar.Freshwater Res. 63:505-512.
  • Serafy, J.E., S.J. Cooke, G.A. Diaz, J.E. Graves, M. Hall, M. Shivji, and Y. Swimmer. 2012. Evaluating circle hooks in commercial, recreational, and artisanal fisheries: research status and needs for improved conservation and management.  Bull. Mar. Sci. 88: 371-391.
  • Graves, J.E., A.Z. Horodysky, and D.W. Kerstetter.  2012. Incorporating circle hooks into Atlantic pelagic fisheries: case studies from the commercial tuna/swordfish longline and recreational billfish fisheries.  Bull. Mar. Sci. 88:411-422.
  • Rooker, J.R., J.R. Simms, R.J.D. Wells, S.A. Holt, G.J. Holt, J.E. Graves, and N.B. Furey.  2012. Distributions and habitat associations of billfish and swordfish larvae across mesoscale features in the Gulf of Mexico.  PLoS ONE 7(4) e31480.
  • Kerstetter, D.W., S.M. Bayse, J.L. Fenton, and J.E. Graves. 2011.  Sailfish habitat utilization and vertical movements in the southern Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 3: 353-365.
  • *Sorenson, L., J.R. McDowell, and J.E. Graves. 2011. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for blue marlin, Makaira nigricans.  Conservation Genetics Resources, 3: 721-723.
  • Collette, B.B., J.E. Graves,  et al. (33 authors).  2011. High value and long life – double jeopardy for tunas and billfishes. Science 333:291-292.
  • *Lynch, P.D., J.E. Graves, and R.J. Latour. 2011. Challenges in the assessment and management of highly migratory bycatch species: a case study of Atlantic marlins. Pages 197-226.  W.W. Taylor, M.G. Schechter, and A.J. Lynch, editors. Sustainable fisheries: multilevel approaches to a global problem. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.
  • *Veríssimo, A., J.R. McDowell, and J.E. Graves. 2011. Population structure of a deepwater squaloid shark, the Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis.  ICES Journal of Marine Science 68: 555-563.
  • Pacheco, J.C., D.W. Kerstetter, F.H. Hazin, H. Hazin, R.S.S.L. Segundo, J.E. Graves, F. Carvalho, and P.E. Travassos. 2011.  A comparison of circle hook and J hook performance in a western equatorial Atlantic Ocean pelagic longline fishery. Fisheries Research 107: 39-45.
  • *Veríssimo, A. , M. T. Moura, J. McDowell, J. Graves, L. Gordo, and R. Hoelzel. 2011. Isolation and characterization of ten nuclear microsatellite loci for the Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis.  Conservation Genetics Resources 3: 299-301.
Current Students
Past Students

Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • David Kerstetter, 2005
  • Pindaro Diaz-Jaimes, 2000 - 2001
  • David Carlini, 1998 - 1999
  • Kimberly Reece, 1994 - 1998

Ph.D. Students

  • William (Willy) Goldsmith, 2018
  • Nadya Mamoozadeh, 2018
  • Ana Verissimo, 2011
  • Dave Portnoy, 2008
  • David Kerstetter, 2005
  • Jan McDowell, 2002
  • Tom Orrell, 2000
  • Jan Cordes, 2000
  • Vince Buonaccorsi, 1998
  • David Carlini, 1998
  • Daniel Scoles, 1994
  • Ed Heist, 1994

M.S. Students

  • Emily Loose, 2014
  • Michele (Tony) Nalovic, 2014
  • Lela Schlenker, 2014
  • Ben Marcek, 2013
  • Jeanna Hudson, 2012
  • Catarina Wor, 2012
  • Laurie Sorenson, 2011
  • Dan Dutton, 2010
  • Abigail Lynch, 2008
  • Emily Chandler, 2007
  • Kirsten Brendtro, 2006
  • Melissa Paine, 2006
  • Kurtis Gray, 2005
  • Andrij Horodysky, 2004
  • Kelly Johnson, 2003
  • David Kerstetter, 2001
  • Arminda Gensler, 2001
  • Felipe Arzayus, 2000
  • Meredith Bostrom, 2000
  • Brett Falterman, 1999
  • Jeff Norrgard, 1995
  • Catherine O’Neil Goodbred, 1995
  • Sandra Blake Boles, 1994
  • Lee Morgan, 1992
Courses Taught


  • MSCI 401F Fundamentals of Marine Fisheries Science


  • MSCI 501F  Fundamentals of Marine Fisheries Science
  • MSCI 528    Marine Fisheries Science
  • MSCI 515    Fisheries Science Seminar
  • MSCI 673    Marine Molecular Genetics
  • MSCI 674    Marine Molecular Genetics Laboratory
  • 2016 - Inducted into the International Game Fish Association's Hall of Fame
  • 2016 - Thomas Ashley Graves, Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching, College of William and Mary
  • 2013 - Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence
  • 2011 - Sport Fishing Magazine's "Making a Difference" Award
  • 2007 - International Game Fish Association, Individual Conservation Award
  • 2006 - NOAA Fisheries Service Special Recognition Award
  • 2004 - Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award
  • 2001 - NOAA Team Member of the Month
  • 1995 - The Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, College of William & Mary
  • 1992 - The Outstanding Teacher Award, School of Marine Science, College of William & Mary
Advisory Service
  • Chairman, U.S. Advisory Committee to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
  • Member National Marine Fisheries Service Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel
  • Member International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group, 2009-present