Russell Hopcroft

Russell Hopcroft

Chair, Department of Oceanography


Biological Oceanography
Marine Biology
Marine Invertebrates

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
120 O'Neill
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7220
907-474-7204 (fax)

Office Hours


3:15–4:00 pm
120 O'Neill

Curriculum Vitae



Research staff and postdocs


Selected Publications

Ershova, E.A., J.M. Questel, K.N. Kosobokova, and R.R. Hopcroft. 2017. Population structure and production of four sibling species of Pseudocalanus spp. in the Chukchi Sea. Journal of Plankton Research 39(1):48–64.

Smoot, C.A., and R.R. Hopcroft. 2017. Depth-stratified community structure of Beaufort Sea slope zooplankton and its relations to water masses. Journal of Plankton Research 39(1):79–91.

Smoot, C.A., and R.R. Hopcroft. 2017. Cross-shelf gradients of epipelagic zooplankton communities of the Beaufort Sea and the influence of localized hydrographic features. Journal of Plankton Research 39(1):65–78.

Li, K.Z., A.J. Doubleday, M.D. Galbraith, and R.R. Hopcroft. 2016. High abundance of salps in the coastal Gulf of Alaska during 2011: A first record of bloom occurrence for the northern Gulf. Deep Sea Research II 132:136-145.

Questel, J.M., L. Blanco-Bercial, R.R. Hopcroft, and A. Bucklin. 2016. Phylogeography and connectivity of the Pseudocalanus (Copepoda: Calanoida) species complex in the eastern North Pacific and the Pacific Arctic Region. Journal of Plankton Research.38(3):610–623.

Sousa, L., K.O. Coyle, R.P. Barry, T.J. Weingartner, and R.R. Hopcroft. 2016. Climate-related variability in abundance of mesozooplankton in the northern Gulf of Alaska 1998–2009. Deep Sea Research II 132:122–135.

Ershova, E.A., R.R. Hopcroft, K.N. Kosobokova, K. Matsuno, R.J. Nelson, A. Yamaguchi, and L.B. Eisner. 2015. Long-term changes in summer zooplankton communities of the western Chukchi Sea, 1945–2012. Oceanography 28(3):100–115.

Wassmann, P., K.N. Kosobokova, D. Slagstad, K. Drinkwater, R.R. Hopcroft, S.E. Moore, I. Ellingsen, R.J. Nelson, E. Carmack, E. Popova, and J. Berge. 2015. The contiguous domains of Arctic Ocean advection: trails of life and death. Progress in Oceanography 139:42–65.

Nelson, R.J., C.J. Ashjian, B.A. Bluhm, K.E. Conlan, R.R. Gradinger, J.M. Grebmeier, V.J. Hill, R.R. Hopcroft, et al. 2014. The Pacific Arctic Region: Ecosystem Status and Trends in a Rapidly Changing Environment. In: J.M. Grebmeier and W. Maslowski, eds., Biodiversity and biogeography of the lower trophic taxa of the Pacific Arctic region: Sensitivities to climate change, 239–336. Springer.

Hunt, G.L., A.L. Blanchard, P. Boveng, P. Dalpadado, K.F. Drinkwater, L. Eisner, R.R. Hopcroft, K.M. Kovacs, B.L. Norcross, P. Renaud, M. Reigstad, M. Renner, H.R. Skjoldal, A. Whitehouse, and R.A. Woodgate. 2013. The Barents and Chukchi Seas: Comparison of two Arctic shelf ecosystems. Journal of Marine Systems 109:43–68.


  • trophodynamics
  • midwater ecology
  • zooplankton
  • Arctic and subarctic ecosystems


Research Overview

My primary interests focus on the composition, production and energy flow of pelagic ecosystems. More simply, my research explores the questions "How do planktonic communities work," "How much energy do they process," "Who’s really important," "How do communities vary temporally and spatially," and increasingly "How do communities change in response to climate." I am also recognized as a taxonomic authority on several groups of zooplankton globally, and for Arctic zooplankton biodiversity in general.

My research efforts have often focused on determining the rates of growth and egg production for the dominant zooplankton (copepod and euphausiid crustaceans), such as in the Gulf of Alaska within the Northeast Pacific GLOBEC program. The ultimate purpose of this research is to establish the rates of secondary production for Alaska waters to help constrain estimates of production of higher tropic levels. 

A large portion of my research has focused on the Arctic Ocean. With NOAA’s Ocean Exploration program an ROV was used in conjunction with traditional plankton nets to explore the full spectrum of zooplankton including the more fragile gelatinous plankton in the western Arctic in 2002, 2005 and 2016. From 2004–2018 I have been involved in numerous projects assessing zooplankton communities in the Northern Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea shelves, including environmental baseline studies for industry. I continue working to consolidate zooplankton data throughout the Arctic and model the distribution of key zooplankton species over the past decades.

My second research focus is Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) observation program in the Northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA).  Begun in 1997–2004 as part of the GLOBEC program, it is now funded by a consortium of NPRB, AOOS, EVOSTC, and NSF.  The goal of this effort is to understand the mechanisms that lead to the high production and resiliency of this subarctic ecosystem, and how this varies from year to year and over decades. Ongoing efforts use a combination of classical morphological analyses, image analysis, molecular approaches (i.e. barcoding, metagenomics, transcriptomics), and rates measurements.