John E.  Graves

Chancellor Professor

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 (UCSD)
  • 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

2014 - Present

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

  • Xue, D-X., J. E. Graves, A. Carranza, S. Sylantyev, S. Snigirov, T. Zhang, and J-X Liu. Successful worldwide invasion of the veined rapa whelk, Rapana venosa, despite a dramatic genetic bottleneck.  Biological Invasions, in press.
  • McDowell, J.R., *N.R. Mamoozadeh, H.L. Brightman, and J.E. Graves. Use of rapidly evolving molecular markers to distinguish species and clarify range uncertainties in the spearfishes (Istiophoridae, Tetrapturus).  Bull. Mar. Sci., in press.
  • *Goldsmith, W.M., A.M. Scheld, and J. E. Graves.  2018. Characterizing the preferences and values of U.S. recreational Atlantic bluefin tuna anglers.  N. Am. J. Fish. Management 38: 680-697.
  • *Williams, S.M., J.R. McDowell, M. Bennett, J.E. Graves, and J. R. Ovenden. 2018. Analysis of whole mitochondrial genome sequences increases phylogenetic resolution of istiophorid billfishes. Bull. Mar. Sci. 94:73-84.
  • *Mamoozadeh, N.R., J.R. McDowell, J.R. Rooker, and J.E. Graves. 2018. Genetic evaluation of population structure in white marlin (Kajikia albida): the importance of statistical power. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 75: 892–902. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx047.
  • *Goldsmith, W. M., A. M. Scheld, and J. E. Graves. 2017. Performance of a low‐cost, solar‐powered pop‐up satellite archival tag for assessing post‐release mortality of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) caught in the US East Coast light‐tackle recreational fishery. Animal Biotelemetry [online serial] 5:29.
  • *Loose, E.L., E.J. Hilton, and J.E. Graves. 2017. Comparative morphology of the scales of Roundscale spearfish Tetrapturus georgii and white marlin Kajikia albida.  J. Fish Biology 90:1548-1569.
  • Graves, J.E., *B.J. Marcek, and *W.M. Goldsmith. 2016. Effects of air exposure on postrelease mortality rates of white marlin caught in the U.S. offshore recreational fishery. N. Am. J. Fish. Management 36:1221-1228.

  • *Reid, K., T.B. Hoareau, J.E. Graves, W.M. Potts, S.M.R. dos Santos, A.W. Klopper, and P. Bloomer. 2016. Secondary contact and asymmetrical gene flow in a cosmopolitan marine fish across the Benguela upwelling zone. Heredity 117:307-315
  • *Marcek, B.J., M.C. Fabrizio, and J.E. Graves. 2016. Short term habitat use of juvenile Atlantic bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus. Marine Coastal Fisheries 8:395-403.

  • *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.
Current Students
  • Savannah Michaelsen, M.S. program
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

  • Savannah Michaelsen Lewis, 2018
  • 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