Anne R. Kapuscinski, Ph.D.

Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science
Dartmouth College
Environmental Studies Program
City, State, Zip
6182 Steele Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 3755
Award Year


Project Details

Anne Kapuscinski is using her fellowship to raise awareness of issues related to genetically modified marine organisms (marine GMOs) and to develop oversight policies to manage marine GMO species. She is developing a three-pronged approach to reform U.S. and international environmental governance. Firstly, she is developing recommendations for precautionary regulations that stress principles of ecology and transparency in decision-making and promote them to policy-makers. She is also convening multi-stakeholder working groups to establish industry-wide protocols for ecological risk assessment and safety assurance. Finally, she has begun to produce policy briefings and post them online to enhance the accuracy and scientific credibility of public understanding of the issues.

Kapuscinski began an international program called Safety First to build scientific and policy capacity for environmental governance of genetically engineered fish and other organisms. The program focuses on developing and tropical countries, particularly Thailand, China, Korea, Singapore and Cuba. She and her colleague Dr. Wansuk Senanan, who is a fish conservation geneticist in Thailand, established a Steering Committee and began planning a training workshop that will stress the safety first approach developed under this Pew Fellowship. The Executive Advisory Board and Steering Committee members of Safety First represent agriculture, aquaculture, environment, food processing and marketing, and marine biotechnology. The first workshop of Safety First, held in April 2002, attracted almost 100 people, including experts in risk assessment, policy and law related to marine GMOs. The organizational structure, goals, working group architecture and next steps for Safety First were determined at the workshop, and food uses of GMOs and other aquatic animals were included in the primary focus of the initiative. A related workshop on biosafety science of GMOs was held at Burapha University in Thailand in October 2003.

In addition, Kapuscinski has written several significant reports on GMO fish, including Future Fish: Issues in Science and Regulation of Transgenic Fish, published in 2003 by the Pew Initiative on Food and biotechnology. She completed planning and has begun publishing Marine Biotechnology Briefs, a pioneering online publication exploring GMO issues. The first issue appeared in February 2003. She made featured appearances at a number of important conferences including the Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, the US Department of Food and Agriculture, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the American Fisheries Society, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She has made a significant public relations splash as well, with dozens of personal appearances and articles in the media, including such well-regarded news institutions as Science, Nature, New Scientist, The New York Times, Wired, ABC Science News Online, France's largest circulation daily newspaper, Ouest France, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Minnesota Public Radio, Public Radio International (PRI) and the Los Angeles Times.


Anne Kapuscinski is an international authority on the ecological risks of genetically engineered organisms, the connection between science and biosafety policies, and genetically engineered fish and other marine organisms (GMOs). She is a professor of Fisheries and of Conservation Biology and teaches courses on sustainable aquaculture and active safety governance of genetic engineering. Kapuscinski is also the founding director of the Institute for Social, Economic and Ecological Sustainability (ISEES) and an extension specialist in Aquaculture and Biotechnology at the University of Minnesota. She leads an ISEES initiative on governance of biotechnology, a fish genetics lab that studies effects of fisheries and aquaculture on genetic diversity of wild fish populations, and an ISEES program on organic aquaculture. A new research project involves risk assessment of genetically engineered fish in contained, simplified ecosystems.

Kapuscinski has served on many scientific and advisory panels. She is currently on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology (ACAB) and was a science advisor for the Edmonds Institute (a public interest group). In 1997, the Secretary of Agriculture awarded her the Department of Agriculture's highest individual honor for promoting sound public policies on biotechnology in aquaculture and on conservation of genetic diversity in fish. Kapuscinski has been invited to participate in other biosafety outreach efforts around the world. These include briefing members of the U.S. Congress, speaking to the U.S. National Academy of Science's new Standing Committee on Biotechnology, teaching at an international biosafety training workshop for government staff, briefing negotiators of the International Biosafety Protocol and speaking at a national biotechnology forum in Chile.



Ph.D., Oregon State University
1984: Fisheries, Oregon, USA

Master of Science, Oregon State University
1980: Fisheries, Oregon, USA

Bachelor of Arts, Swarthmore College
1976: Biology, Pennsylvania, USA


Union of Concerned Scientists, Food and Environment Program
2002-Present: Board member (expert on environmental effects of genetically engineered organisms)

2000-Present: Secretary of Agriculture's Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology

Marine Stewardship Council
1999-2000: Senior Advisors Board / Standards Council

State of Maine and Trout Unlimited
1999: Review of Hatcheries for Atlantic Salmon Restoration

Great Lakes Fishery Commission
1994-1999: Board of Technical Experts

USDA, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Advisory Committee (ABRAC)
1992-1996: Vice Chair

National Academy of Science
1992-1995: National Research Council Committee on Protection and Management of Pacific Northwest Anadromous Salmonids

Office of Technology Assessment
1993-1995: U.S. Congress Advisory Panel on Aquaculture

Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Program
1992-1994: Long-term Fitness Task Team

Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, Aquaculture Discharge Workgroup
1989-1990: Coordinator

Minnesota Aquaculture Advisory Committee

MN Environmental Quality Board
1988-1994: Advisory Committee on Genetic Engineering

American Fisheries Society
1987: Advisor to Long Range Planning Committee—AFS North Central Technical Committee on Fish Genetics

American Fisheries Society
1989-1991: Co-chair

Environmental Biosafety Research
2002-Present: Editorial Board Member

USDA Review Panel
2002-Present: Member of Review Panel for Animal Genome and Genetic Mechisms

National Academy of Science
2002-Present: Member of Committee on Biological Confinement of Genetically Engineered Organisms


Marine Fellow
2001: Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation

Honor Award for Environmental Protection
1997: U.S. Department of Agriculture


American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Fisheries Society

Ecological Society of America

Society for Conservation Biology

World Aquaculture Society


  • Kapuscinski AR. 2005. Current scientific understanding of the environmental biosafety of transgenic fish and shellfish. Rev sci tech Off int Epiz 24(1): 309-322
  • Kirk TK, Carlson JE, Ellstrand N, Kapuscinski AR, Lumpkin TA, Magnus DC, Magraw, DB Jr., Nester EW, Peloquin JJ, Snow AA, Sticklen MB, and Turner PE. 2004. Biological Confinement of Genetically Engineered Organisms. National Research Council's Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Board on Agriculture, and Board on Life Sciences
  • A.R. Kapuscinski and others. 2003. Future Fish: Issues in Science and Regulation of Transgenic Fish. Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, Washington D.C.
  • Arden, W.R. and A.R. Kapuscinski. 2003. Demographic and genetic estimates of effective population size (Ne) reveals genetic compensation in steelhead trout. Molecular Ecology 12(1): 35-50
  • Kapuscinski, A.R., R. M. Goodman, S.D. Hann, L.R. Jacobs, E.E. Pullins, C.S. Johnson, J.D. Kinsey, R. L. Kall, A. G.M. La Viña, M. Mellon and V.W. Ruttan. 2003. Making 'Safety First' a Reality for Biotechnology Products. Nature Biotechnology 21(6): 599+
  • Eldridge, W.H., M.D. Bacigalupi, I.R. Adelman, L.M. Miller and A.R. Kapuscinski. 2002. Determination of relative survival of two stocked walleye populations and resident natural-origin fish by microsatellite DNA parentage assignment. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59(2): 282-290
  • Senanan, W. and A.R. Kapuscinski. 2000. Genetic relationships amoung populations of northern pike (Esox lcius). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59(2): 391
  • Hallerman, E., D. King and A.R. Kapuscinski. 1999. A decision support software for safely conducting research with genetically modified fish and shellfish. Aquaculture 173(1): 309
  • Kapuscinski, A.R., T. Nega and E.M. Hallerman. 1999. Adaptive biosafety assessment and management regimes for aquatic genetically modified organisms in the environment. In: Towards Policies for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Aquatic Genetic Resources (R.S.V. Pullin and D. Bartley eds.). International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, Makati City, Philippines, p. 225-251
  • Scientists Working Group on Biosafety (Kapuscinski one of 12 authors). 1998. A Manual for Assessing Ecological and Human Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Organisms. Edmonds Institute, Edmonds, WA. (200 pp)
  • Agricultural Biotechnology Research Advisory Committee, Working Group on Aquatic Biotechnology and Environmental Safety (Kapuscinski chair).. 1995. Performance Standards for Safely Conducting Research with Genetically Modified Fish and Shellfish Parts I & II. United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Agricultural Biotechnology Documents No. 95-04 (63 pp + appendices) and 95-05 (40 pp)
  • Kapuscinski, A.R. and E.M. Hallerman. 1994. Benefits, Risks, and Policy Implications:Biotechnology in Aquaculture. (80 pp). Contract report for Office of Technology Assessment (U.S. Congress), Aquaculture: Food and Renewable Resources from U.S. Waters
  • Kapuscinski, A.R. and E.M. Hallerman. 1991. Implications of introduction of transgenic fish into natural ecosystems. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48:99107
  • Hallerman, E.M. and A.R. Kapuscinski. 1990. Transgenic fish and public policy:II. Regulatory concerns. Fisheries 15(1): 12-20
  • Hallerman, E.M. and A.R. Kapuscinski. 1990. Transgenic fish and public policy:III. Patenting of transgenic fish. Fisheries 15(1): 21-24
  • Kapuscinski, A.R. and E.M. Hallerman. 1990. AFS position statement:Transgenic fishes. Fisheries 15(4): 2--5
  • Kapuscinski, A.R. and E.M. Hallerman. 1990. Transgenic fish and public policy:I Anticipating environmental impacts of transgenic fish. Fisheries 15(1): 2--11