Hal Caswell

Hal Caswell yearbook photo Photo of Hal Caswell today

Well, it has been a while. After graduation, I headed off to Michigan State, graduating with a degree in Zoology in 1971. I had stumbled into an excellent research situation in the lab of William Cooper, so I stayed on at MSU and finished my PhD in 1974. Then it was off to a faculty position at University of Connecticut for a few years, before taking a research position in Biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on Cape Cod.

Photo of Hal Caswell with an albatross


I spent the next 30 years there, retiring to become an emeritus scientist in 2014. In 2013, thanks to a large grant from the European Research Council, I moved to Amsterdam to take on the oh so impressive title of Professor of Mathematical Demography and Ecology.

Photo of Hal Caswell in academic garb

Is this Hogwarts?


The European connection had been increasing for a while at that point. My line of work involves lots of conferences, and I had become fond of Europe. Spending most of a year at a research institute in Germany convinced me that Europe would be interesting on a longer term basis.

Photo of Hal Caswell on stage


Amsterdam turns out to be a wonderful city. Great to visit, and even better to live. Long ago I began the study of t'ai chi chuan, and am now a senior teacher of that art for the Tai Chi Foundation; I guess that qualifies as my main hobby.

Photo of Hal Caswell conducting Tai Chi class


Academics leave tracks behind them, and you can find out about my research activities with a little googling. I work on mathematical models for the growth of populations: of plants, animals, and humans. Sounds esoteric, but it keeps me out of trouble. I have written papers and books, taught students, received some awards, and accumulated a valued international circle of friends and colleagues. Some of my work has had an impact on conservation (whales, polar bears, penguins); I am proud of having led a team of researchers that played a big role in the decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species because of climate change.

Photo of Hal Caswell with his wife Moira


Over the last 50 years (yike, it feels strange to write that), I have been married three times. My wife Moira is an artist and all around great person. We very much enjoy life in Amsterdam and visits back to Cape Cod. My daughter Erin is an attorney, working in New Jersey. Moira's two daughters live in Vermont and Colorado. My siblings are scattered around the US (California, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan). We are having a family reunion later this year. Two reunions in one summer may be some kind of record.