James Bence, Ph.D.

James Bence

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William E. Ricker Professor of Fisheries Management; Co-Director, Quantitative Fisheries Center
Quantitative Fisheries Center




  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1985
  • M.A., Applied Statistics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1985
  • B.S., Biology, University of Notre Dame, 1979


My position is part of the Partnership for Ecosystem Health and Management. My research is in the general area of quantitative fisheries with an emphasis on Great Lakes applications.  Recent work has focused on evaluation of age-structured stock assessment methods and use of simulation models to evaluate different harvest policies and other management choices.  My work has covered a broad range of topics including environmental impact assessments, bioenergetics applications, stock assessments and policy analyses for specific Great Lakes stocks, general assessment of methods, sea lamprey control/management, and population dynamics theory and modeling.  I teach a graduate course in fish population dynamics.  

Prospective graduate students should see the Quantitive Fisheries Center website for information on assistantships and other opportunities.

Research Interests:

  • Fishery stock assessment methods
  • Fishery management
  • Use of simulation tools in evaluating management strategies
  • Great Lakes fisheries
  • Environmetrics and environmental assessment
  • Population and community dynamics

Selected Publications:

Pappalardo, K. Ogle, E.A. Hamman, J.R. Bence, B.A. Hungate, and C.W. Osenberg. Accepted. Comparing traditional and Bayesian approaches to ecological meta-analyses.  Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

B.S. Stevens, J.R. Bence, D.R. Luukkonen, W.F. Porter.  2020.  A hierarchical framework for estimating abundance and population growth from imperfectly observed removals.  Ecosphere 11(5):e03131 doi/10.1002/ecs2.3131.

J.X. He, J.R. Bence, C.P. Madenjian, and R.M. Claramunt. 2020.  Dynamics of lake trout production in the main basin of Lake Huron.  ICES Journal of Marine Science 77(3): 975:987.

N.C. Fisch, J.R. Bence, J.T. Myers, E.K. Berglund, and D.L. Yule.  2019.  A comparison of age- and size-structured assessment models applied to a stock of cisco in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Fisheries Research 209:86-100.

D.G. Fielder and J.R. Bence.  2014.  Integration of auxiliary information in statistical catch-at-age (SCA) analysis of the Saginaw Bay stock of Walleye in Lake Huron.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34:  970-987.

J.R. Bence, M.W. Dorn, B.J. Irwin, and A.E. Punt.  2008.  Recent advances in the evaluation and implementation of harvest policies.  Fisheries Research 94: 207-209