Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Jeff Hard - Staff Profile

Federal, NOAA Fisheries
Job Title:
Genetics & Evolution Program Manager

Jeff  Hard


Jeff is an evolutionary biologist whose work focuses primarily on life-history diversity in salmonid fishes. Jeff began his career as a NOAA fisheries biologist working on Pacific salmon in remote southeastern Alaska. He moved to the NWFSC in 1992 and currently manages the Conservation Biology Division's Genetics and Evolution Program. Jeff serves on NOAA-led recovery teams for both Puget Sound steelhead and Southern eulachon, and was chair of the Puget Sound Steelhead Technical Recovery Team. He is a US member of the Pacific Salmon Commission's Committee on Scientific Cooperation. He is an adviser for the National Research Council's Research Associateship Program, and a mentor for the NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Graduate Fellowship Program in Population Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics. He is also a past president of the American Fisheries Society's Genetics Section and has served as an associate editor for the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society and a guest editor for PNAS and Ecological Applications. Jeff holds affiliate professorships in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington and in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska. He received his B.S. in Biology from Oregon State University (marine emphasis, with high honors), his M.S. in Fisheries Science from the University of Alaska, and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Oregon.

Current Research

As a biologist who uses evolutionary genetics to address problems in natural resource management and conservation biology, Jeff's research into life-history evolution focuses on four primary areas: 1) characterizing the relationship between genetic and phenotypic variation within and among populations in life history; 2) determining the evolutionary consequences of inbreeding within and interbreeding among distinct populations; 3) exploring how life histories respond to selection such as size-selective exploitation, hatchery domestication and climate change; and 4) detecting the genetic architecture of fitness traits. His current research includes studies in Washington and Alaska to determine the effects of inbreeding and outbreeding in Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead, to characterize domestication selection in coho salmon, to evaluate the consequences of predation-induced (by humans and bears) and climate-induced evolution in anadromous salmonids, to characterize paleo-cryptic life history variation in salmon, and to quantify the genetic and environmental factors that influence anadromy, life-history plasticity, and viability in steelhead. Jeff also collaborates on several studies of reproductive success and selection in elk and in penguins and of morphological variation in killer whales.