Kevin R. Bestgen, PhD.

Senior Research Scientist and Director

Larval Fish Laboratory, Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Fields of Expertise

Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, Riparian Zones and Wetlands

Areas of Interest

Native and endangered fish and their ecosystems, Bioengineering structures for fish passages, Otolith microstructure and aging, Regulated rivers and nonnative fishes


Dr. Bestgen received a B.A. in Biology 1981 from St. Cloud State University, MN, an M.S. in 1985 and a Ph.D. in 1997 from Colorado State University in Fishery and Wildlife Biology. As Director of the Larval Fish Laboratory (LFL), and a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Dr. Bestgen conducts and supervises research on a wide variety of topics, mostly centered on native fish ecology and conservation in arid-land streams in western North America. His research, and that of the Larval Fish Laboratory, focus on early and adult life stages of native fishes, and their interactions with introduced species. Dr. Bestgen has expertise in effects of regulated rivers on fishes, otolith aging and marking, evaluation of effects of passage and diversion structures on fish, and demographic analyses of native fishes using capture-recapture data. His work has culminated in over 80 peer-reviewed papers and technical reports, which were generated working collaboratively with a host of local, state, federal, and non-governmental institutions.