Dr. Colin Levings was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, went to high school in Surrey BC, and as a youth spent a lot of time fishing in the lower Fraser River. After completing his B.Sc. and M Sc. at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Institute of Fisheries, he earned his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Halifax. In 1972, he started work at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) laboratory in West Vancouver where he is still based. He has studied estuarine ecosystems, salmon habitat in rivers and estuaries, and marine conservation in coastal British Columbia to help provide management solutions that work toward sustainability. After retirement as Senior Scientist in 2006, Colin continues work as a Scientist Emeritus with DFO. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the UBC.

Eastern sector of the Homathko River estuary at the head of Bute Inlet, British Columbia. A photograph I took in August 1980 from a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter during a joint ecological survey of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Geological Survey of Canada.

Colin is currently working on papers arising from past research, review articles, and provides advice and corporate knowledge to stakeholders on various coastal ecology issues. He has published over 200 papers and reports and these are listed under the “Publications” link in my website. Colin has worked overseas on projects in Asia and Europe, served as an Editor for several journals, and has been a member of a number of scientific advisory boards in Canada and the United States. Colin is a past President and founding member of the Pacific Estuarine Research Society.

In 2016 Colin published the book “Ecology of Salmonids in Estuaries Around the World: Adaptations, Habitats and Conservation” with UBC Press. This earned him the K.D. Srivastava prize as the best book published by UBC Press by an UBC-affiliated author in 2016, as judged by the Press and UBC Office of the Vice President, Research. Click on the About page for links to the book, ordering information, endorsements, etc.


Colin had the privilege of sailing on a few iconic research vessels during his career. His first ship was the M.V. Western Flyer, the vessel used by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts on their voyage to the Sea of Cortez in1940. He worked on the Flyer in the Gulf of Alaska as a technician while she under charter to the International Pacific Halibut Commission in 1962-1963. He was a student on the schooner Te Vega from Hopkins Marine Laboratory during Voyage 12, autumn 1966, off the California coast, Chief Scientist Dr. Rolf Bolin. On the Atlantic he sailed with Dr Bob Conover in 1970 on the CSS Sackville on a cruise to the fjords on the south coast of Newfoundland. On the BC coast, during his career he has been chief scientist on CGS G.B. Reed, CSS Vector, CSS Tully, CNAV Laymore and host of smaller research vessels during his studies from Boundary Bay to Haida Gwaii. Some stories and photos relating these vessels are on my website.


During my career I conducted habitat studies in many estuaries, bays and fjords between on the BC coast, ranging from Boundary Bay to the Yakoun River estuary on Haida Gwaii. I also studied juvenile salmon ecology on the Fraser River and some of its tributaries. A map showing the location of most of these studies is on the site, together with a brief description of what was done as well as a listing of the report documenting the work at a specific area.