Gund Fellow, Research Assistant Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Joe Roman is a conservation biologist, author, and fellow in the Gund Institute. His broad research interests span endangered species policy, marine mammals, invasive species, and biodiversity and human health. Joe teaches marine ecology and conservation and graduate workshops (ateliers) on emerging problems of conservation interest, such as marine spatial planning and Cuban marine ecology. Joe came to the Gund Institute for Environment as an Environmental Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During his AAAS fellowship, he helped start an interdisciplinary program on Biodiversity and Human Health at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Joe has been a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, a McCurdy Scholar at the Duke University Marine Lab, and a Hrdy Visiting Fellow at Harvard University.

Joe is the author of Listed: Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act (Harvard University Press, 2011), the recipient of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award; and Whale (Reaktion 2006), a cultural history of whales and whaling. His science and nature writing has appeared in The New York Times, New Scientist, Audubon, Conservation, among other journals. His research has been covered by the Associated Press, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other outlets. Joe is the editor ’n’ chef of Eat the Invaders.

Joe Roman in the News




Refereed journal articles

  • Doughty, C. E., J. Roman, S. Faurby, A. Wolf, Y. Malhi, J.-C. Svenning. Global nutrient transfer in a world of giants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Invited.
  • Morissette, L., J. Roman, and D. Beauchesne. Risk and resilience in baleen whales. PLoS ONE. In revision.
  • Roman, J., M. Dunphy-Daly, D. W. Johnston, and A. J. Read. Lifting baselines to address the consequences of conservation success. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. In press.
  • Sanders, J. A. Beichman, J. Roman, J. Scott, D. Emerson, J. McCarthy, P. Girguis. The whale gut microbiome digests animal prey using pathways common in terrestrial herbivores. Nature Communications. In revision.
  • Boumans, R., J. Roman, I. Altman, and L. Kaufman. 2015. The Multiscale Integrated Model of Ecosystem Services (MIMES): Simulating the interactions of coupled human and natural systems. Ecosystem Services 12: 30-41.
  • Roman, J., J. Estes, L. Morrisette, C. Smith, D. Costa, J. McCarthy, J. B. Nation, S. Nicol, A. Pershing, and V. Smetacek. 2014. Whales as marine ecosystem engineers. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12:377-385.
  • Altman, I., R. Boumans, J. Roman, S. Gopal, and L. Kaufman. 2014. An ecosystem accounting framework for marine ecosystem-based management. The Sea: Marine Ecosystem-Based Management 16: 245-276.
  • Darling, J., A. Blakeslee, E.Yi-Hsin, and J. Roman. 2014. Are genes faster than crabs? Mitochondrial introgression exceeds larval dispersal during population expansion of the invasive crab Carcinus maenas. Royal Society Open Science 1: 140202.
  • Thomas, T. M., M. C. Granatosky, J. R. Bourque, K. L. Krysko, P. E. Moler, T. Gamble, E. Suarez, E. Leone, and J. Roman. 2014. Taxonomic assessment of alligator snapping turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786: 141-165.
  • Roman, J., I. Altman, M. Dunphy-Daly, C. Campbell, M. Jasny, and A. Read. 2013. The Marine Mammal Protection Act at 40: Status, recovery, and future of U.S. marine mammals. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1286: 29-49.
  • Roman et al. 2013 was adapted and reprinted in 2014 in the Renewable Resources Journal 28 (3): 7-15.
  • Pringle, J., J. E. Byers, A. Blakeslee, and J. Roman. 2011. An upstream retention zone drives downstream diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 15288-15293.
  • Jacquet, J., I. Boyd, J. T. Carlton, H. Fox, A. E. Johnson, L. Mee, J. Roman, M. Spaulding, and W. J. Sutherland. 2011. Scanning the oceans for solutions. Solutions 2(1): 46-55.
  • Simberloff, D., and 140 signatories including J. Roman. 2011. Non-natives: 141 scientists object. Nature 475: 36.
  • Roman, J. and J. J. McCarthy. 2010. The whale pump: marine mammals enhance primary productivity in a coastal basin. PLoS ONE 5(10):e13255.
  • Roman, J., T. Croner, L. Forcier, W. Raap, W. Jackson. 2010. Perennial agriculture:
  • Roots of sustainability. Solutions 1(3):23-26.
  • Blakeslee, A., J. E. Byers, J. Darling, J. Pringle, and J. Roman. 2010. A hitchhiker’s guide to the Maritimes: anthropogenic transport facilitates long-distance dispersal of an invasive marine crab to Newfoundland. Diversity and Distributions 16:879-891.
  • Roman, J., P. E. Ehrlich, R. Pringle, J. A. Avise. 2010. Facing extinction: Nine steps to save biodiversity, Solutions 1 (1):32-45.
  • Pongsiri, M. J.,* J. Roman,* V. O. Ezenwa, T. L. Goldberg, H. S. Koren, S. C. Newbold, R. S. Ostfeld, S. K. Pattanayak, D. J. Salkeld. 2009. Biodiversity loss affects global disease ecology. Bioscience 59:945-954 (*co-lead authors).
  • Echelle, A. A, J. C. Hackler, J. B. Lack, S. R. Ballard, J. Roman, S. F. Fox, D. M. Leslie, Jr., and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2009. Conservation genetics of the alligator snapping turtle: cytonuclear evidence of range-wide bottleneck effects and unusually pronounced geographic structure. Conservation Genetics 11:1375-1387.
  • Darling, J. A., M. J. Bagley, J. Roman, C. K. Tepolt, J. B. Geller. 2008. Genetic patterns across multiple introductions of the globally invasive crab genus Carcinus. Molecular Ecology 17:4992–5007.
  • Roman, J., and J. Darling. 2007. Paradox lost: genetic variation and the success of aquatic invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22:454-464.
  • Pongsiri, M., and J. Roman. 2007. Examining the links between biodiversity and human health: an interdisciplinary research initiative at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EcoHealth 4:82-85.
  • Roman, J. 2006. Diluting the founder effect: cryptic invasions expand a marine invader's range. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 273:2453-2459.
  • Bowen, B. W., and J. Roman. 2005. Gaia’s handmaidens: The Orlog principle of conservation biology. Conservation Biology 19:1037-1043.
  • Rocha, L. A., D. R. Robertson, J. Roman, and B. W. Bowen. 2005. Ecological speciation in tropical reef fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 272:573-579.
  • Palumbi, S. R., and J. Roman. 2004. Counting whales in the North Atlantic: Response to Holt and Mitchell. Science 303:40.
  • Roman, J., and S. R. Palumbi. 2004. A global invader at home: population structure of the green crab, Carcinus maenas, in Europe. Molecular Ecology 13:2891-2898.
  • Roman, J., and S. R. Palumbi. 2003. Whales before whaling in the North Atlantic. Science 301:508-510.
  • Roman, J., and B. W. Bowen. 2000. The mock turtle syndrome: genetic identification of turtle meat purchased in the southeast United States. Animal Conservation 3:61-65. Farrell, L., J. Roman, and M. Sunquist. 2000. Dietary separation of carnivores identified by molecular analysis of scats. Molecular Ecology 9:1583-1590.
  • Roman, J., D. Walker, and B. W. Bowen. 1999. Genetic tools for forensic identification of snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii and Chelydra serpentina) products in commercial trade. Herpetological Review 30:218-219.
  • Roman, J., S. D. Santhuf, P. E. Moler, and B. W. Bowen. 1999. Population structure and cryptic evolutionary units in the alligator snapping turtle. Conservation Biology 13:135-142.

Book chapters, reports, and encyclopedia entries

  • P. Balvanera, D. S. Karp, N. Ash, E. Bennett, R. Boumans, C. Brown, K. Chan, R. Chaplin-Kramer, B. S. Halpern, J. Hony-Roses, C. Kim, W. Cramer, M. J. Martínez Harms, H. Mooney, T. Mwampamba, J. Nel, S. Polasky, S. Quijas, B. Reyers, J. Roman, W. Turner, R. J. Scholes, H. Tallis, K. Thonicke, F. Villa, M. Walpole, A. Walz. 2014. Ecosystem Services. GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks. In press.
  • Roman, J. 2013. Contributor to A Wild Success: The Endangered Species Act at 40, Endangered Species Coalition, Washington, DC: p. 55.
  • Roman, J., B. Hartl, J. Fitzgerald, T. Croner. 2012. Comments by the Society for Conservation Biology’s North America Section Regarding the Economic Analysis of the Revised Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, July 6.
  • Costanza, R, I. Kubeszewksi, J. Roman, P. Sutton. 2011. Changes in ecosystem services in low-lying coastal areas over the next fifty years, in Migration and Global Environmental Change. UK Government Office for Science, London: D7 (peer reviewed).
  • Roman J., J. Jacquet, J. Jackson, N. Knowlton. 2010. Editors of the special Oceans Issue of Solutions. 2: 3.
  • Roman, J. 2009. Whales and whaling. In The Encyclopedia of Islands, R. Gillespie and D. Clague, editors. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Roman, J. 2008. Aquatic invasive species. M. McClary, Jr., topic editor. In Encyclopedia of Earth, Cutler J. Cleveland, editor. Washington, DC: Environmental
  • Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment (peer- reviewed).
  • Roman, J. 2008. Whale communication and culture. K. J. Caley, topic editor. In Encyclopedia of Earth, Cutler J. Cleveland, editor. Washington, DC: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment (peer- reviewed).
  • Palumbi, S. R., and J. Roman. 2006. The history of whales read from DNA. In Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems, J. A. Estes, D. P. DeMaster, D. F. Doak, T. M. Williams, and R. L. Brownell, Jr., editors. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 102-115 (peer-reviewed).
  • Slay, C. K., Swartz, S. L., Knowlton, A. R., Kenney, R. D., Martin, S. Roman, J., Martinez, A., and Tobias, J. 2000. Mitigating right whale vessel collisions: VHF-Radio tracking of a North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) female and calf in the calving ground. Miami, FL: Southeast Fisheries Science Center Reports, NMFS.

Books and monographs

  • Roman, J. 2011. Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act. Harvard University Press.
  • Roman, J. 2006. Whale. London: Reaktion. (Spanish edition, Editorial Melusina, 2008. Arabic edition, Kalima, 2012.)
  • Roman, J. 2003. Tracking anthropogenic change in the North Atlantic with genetic tools. Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University.
  • Blanchard, P., and J. Roman. 1998. Jamaica Bay Coastal Habitat Restoration Project. New York: New York City Audubon Society.
  • Roman, J. 1997. Cryptic evolution and population structure in the alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii). Masters thesis, University of Florida.
  • Roman, J. 1993. Octavio Paz. New York: Chelsea House.
  • Roman, J. 1991. Pablo Neruda. New York: Chelsea House.
  • Roman, J. 1990. King Philip, Wampanoag Rebel. New York: Chelsea House.

Feature Articles, Op-Eds, Blogs

  • Editor-in-Chief, Eat The Invaders website,, 2011-present.
  • “Leading Environmentalists Reflect on Senator Gaylord Nelson’s Eloquent Launch of Earth Day,” EarthDesk, April 22, 2014 (with Andrew Revkin, Carl Safina, and others).
  • “Eating the Invaders,” UVM Food Feed Blog, April 15, 2014.
  • “Can We Save the Bluefin Tuna?” Solutions, October 2013 (with Frank Zelko).
  • “Can the Plover Save New York?” Slate, August 23, 2013.
  • “Fishing with Dolphins.” Slate, January 31, 2013.
  • “Invasive Species: If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Eat ’Em.” Yes! Magazine, Winter 2013.
  • “The Wild American Dream.” American Constitution Society Book Talk, October 20, 2011
  • “Finding the Genes That Fit.” Conservation Magazine, Fall 2011. “Why Whales?” Harvard Magazine, May 2011.
  • “The Perfect Spill: Solutions for Averting the Next Deepwater Horizon.” 2011. Solutions 1(5), 42-43 (by R. Costanza, D. Batker, J. W. Day, R. Feagin, M. L. Martinez, and J. Roman).
  • “Sniffing for Whales.” Muse, February 2009.
  • “Tinkering with Our Oceans.” Blue Ridge Press, July 28, 2008.
  • “Of Whales and War.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2008. "A Whooping Success." Wildlife Conservation, June 2007.
  • "Deep Doo-Doo: You Can Learn a Lot about a Whale from Its Feces." New Scientist, December 23, 2006. Reprinted in How to Make a Tornado (Mick O’Hare ed., 2009), a collection of the strangest scientific endeavors, drawn from the archives of New Scientist.
  • "Bon Appétit." Conservation in Practice, January-March 2006.
  • "Sharks Help Maintain Health of the Oceans." Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2005.
  • "We Shall Eat Them on the Beaches." New Scientist, September 10, 2005.
  • "The Sweet Song of Spring: 'Ribbit.'" The New York Times, May 6, 2005.
  • "The Tortugas, Last Stop U.S.A." The New York Times, April 1, 2005.
  • "Where Bright Lights and Night Life Are Nature's Doing." The Sunday New York Times, March 6, 2005.
  • "Along the Potomac, Bald Eagles Soar Once More." The New York Times, November 19, 2004.
  • "Eat the Invaders!" Audubon, September 2004.
  • "A Place Where All the Snowflakes Are Still Different." The New York Times, January 2, 2004.
  • "Who Needs Baseball? Birders Have Their Own Fall Classic." The New York Times, October 3, 2003.
  • "Romance of the Horseshoe Crab." The New York Times, June 13, 2003. "The Panther’s New Genes." Wildlife Conservation, January 2003.
  • "Stalking the Mock Turtle." New Scientist, September 7, 2001. With co-author Brian Bowen.
  • "Seeing Spots." Wildlife Conservation, June 2001.
  • "Is the Right Whale Going Down?" Wildlife Conservation, June 2000.
  • "Fishing for Evidence." Audubon, February 2000.

Book reviews

  • The selfless geneticist. 2007. Conservation Biology, 21:1378-1379.



Awards and Recognition

  • Mary Derrickson McCurdy Visiting Scholarship, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 2015 ($35K).
  • Pearson, H., T. Haynes, J. Roman, J. Warren. The Role of Avian Predators in Nutrient Transport in a Glacially Fed Southeast Alaska Estuarine Ecosystem, Angus Gavin Migratory Bird Research Grant ($10K).
  • Roman, J. (PI). Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Collaborating Faculty Funds for Lifting Baselines workshop and analysis of conservation success 2014-15 ($10K).
  • Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Visiting Fellow in Conservation Biology, Harvard University, 2014-15 ($110K).
  • Sitka Sound Science Center, Scientist in Residence, 2014 ($10K).
  • Alvez, J., J. Roman, J. Barlow, and J. Kraft. Forage diversity and cattle well-being. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant, USDA, Co-PI ($13K)
  • National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Interdisciplinary Research on Human Impacts in the Lake Champlain Ecosystem, one of twelve Co-PIs, 2014-17 ($319K).
  • Mary Derrickson McCurdy Visiting Scholarship, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 2013-14 ($50K).
  • Roman, J. (PI), and J. Erickson. Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, The Economics of Conservation ($50K).
  • Roman, J. (PI), J. Barlow, J. Alvez, and J. Erickson. University of Vermont, REACH Grant, to research impacts of biodiversity on cattle wellbeing, 2013-14 ($50K).
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, 2012.
  • Rachel Carson Environment Book Award for Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act, Society for Environmental Journalists, 2012.
  • Listed has also been chosen as required reading for the Duke Environmental Leadership Program and the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law Environmental Capstone Course.
  • Fulbright Award to Brazil, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 2011-12 ($40K).
  • Roman, J. (PI). Natural Resources Defense Council, Endangered Oceans Project, 2011- 12 ($25K).
  • Roman, J. (PI). Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Collaborating Faculty Funds for Biodiversity and Cattle Workshop, 2012 ($10K).
  • Roman, J. (PI). Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Collaborating Faculty Funds for Raising Whales Workshop, 2011 ($10K).
  • Roman, J. (PI), J. McCarthy, & H. Koopman. Marine Mammal Commission. The whale pump: marine mammals and primary productivity in the Bay of Fundy. 2011-12 ($50K).
  • Kaufman, L. (PI), & J. Roman (Co-PI at UVM). Massachusetts Oceans Partnership. Spatial Modeling and Decision Support for Integrated Multi-Use Ocean Management in Massachusetts. In charge of project supervision and marine modeling. 2009-12 ($300K).
  • Byer, J., J. Pringle, & J. Roman. Census of Marine Life Grant. Invasive Species Trouble Spots: Tracking the Spread of European Green Crabs in the Gulf of Maine from an Upstream Retention Zone. 2007-09 ($20K).
  • Fish, D (PI), Pongsiri, M., & Roman, J. Advanced Monitoring Initiative, USEPA. Integrating Earth Observation and Field Data into a Lyme Disease Model to Map and Predict Risks to Biodiversity and Human Health. 2007-09 ($250K).
  • Ucross Foundation Residency, Ucross, Wyoming, 2008.
  • Visiting Fellow. Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont. 2006- 08.
  • Science and Technology Policy Fellowship. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 2005-07.


Associations and Affiliations


  • Governor’s Representative for Vermont, National Ocean Council Regional Planning Body, starting 2012
  • Society for Conservation Biology, Scientific Integrity Task Force, starting 2011 Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel, starting 2008


  • New York Academy of Sciences Society for Conservation Biology Society for Marine Mammalogy Society of Environmental Journalists


  • For journals Animal Conservation, Biological Invasions, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Conservation Biology, Current Biology, Diversity and Distributions, Ecological Economics, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Management Review, Evolution, Journal of Heredity, Marine Biology, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Marine Mammal Science, Molecular Ecology, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Solutions, and Systematic Biology.
  • For grants considered by EPA Star Graduate Fellowships, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia of Portugal, Large Pelagics Research Center at University of New Hampshire, National Research Foundation of South Africa, NSF Biological Oceanography Program, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Sea Grant, and University of Vermont REACH grant program.
  • For book manuscripts at Harvard University Press, Princeton University Press, University of California Press, and University of Chicago Press. 


Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Biodiversity and ecosystem services, biological invasions, marine population genetics, and marine ecology


  • PhD, Organic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • MA, Wildlife Ecology/Conservation, University of Florida
  • BA, Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard College