Waldo Wakefield received a B.S. in biology from Penn State University, an M.S. in oceanography from Oregon State University and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Before coming to work with NOAA Fisheries in 1999, he was on the faculty of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and later, at Rutgers University, where he served as science director for NOAA's Mid-Atlantic Bight National Undersea Research Center. His extensive background in fish ecology, biological oceanography and fisheries science started in 1974, when he began working on the Chesapeake Bay as a staff member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Waldo is leader for FRAM's Marine Habitat Ecology Team. His research in recent years has been directed toward obtaining a better understanding of what controls the distribution and abundance of fishes and other mobile animals in the ocean, with the intention of applying this information to the management of living resources. His contribution in this area is in the application of direct observation and advanced technology to the study of the distribution of demersal fishes and their habitat associations. Waldo is also part of one of several multidisciplinary groups linking the fields of marine geology and fisheries to study the habitat ecology of commercially important species of fish. This work on habitat has direct application in the rapidly-growing effort to incorporate ecosystem considerations into stock assessments and management advice (e.g., siting of marine reserves). The team also conducts conservation engineering research to develop gear that is more selective and that minimizes impacts on associated ecosystems. As part of Oregon State University's courtesy faculty (2002 - present), Waldo continues to pursue research collaborations and teaching interests with academic colleagues.