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Peter B. Moyle has been studying the ecology and conservation of freshwater, anadromous, and estuarine fishes in California for over 42 years. He has documented the declining status of many native species in California including salmon and steelhead. He has documented invasions of alien fishes and the creation of novel aquatic ecosystems throughout the state. Increasingly his research is involved in predicting effects of climate change on native and alien fishes and in developing conservation strategies for native fishes, especially cold-water fishes. Most of his research is conducted in the Sierra Nevada, the North Coast, and the San Francisco Estuary (especially Suisun Marsh), but he has studied fish all over California. His reviews of the status of California's native fishes (four since 1975), as well as more species-focused studies, have been important for gaining support for conservation of many species, including coho salmon and spring-run Chinook salmon.

His interest in solution-oriented research is reflected most recently in his participation in the Delta Solutions Team with his colleagues at UC Davis, the Public Policy Institute of California, and other universities. The team addresses diverse problems in the estuary and has produced a number of books and papers on the subject. It has also written a book called Managing California's Water (2010, PPIC).

He is author/coauthor/co-editor of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 10 books, and many other publications. The completely revised and updated version of his book Inland Fishes of California was published in 2002 and the 5th edition of Fishes: an introduction to ichthyology, co-authored with Joseph Cech, was published in 2004. In 2008, he completed an assessment of the state of salmon and trout in California, which is available on-line. Another book (2010) is a text on conservation with Michael Marchetti as the lead author (Protecting life on Earth: an introduction to the science of conservation, UC Press).

He is a professor of fish biology in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and associate director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, Davis. He teaches basic courses in fish biology, wildlife conservation, and watershed ecology.