Chair, Department of Marine Science
University of South Alabama
Bob was born in Tallahassee, but grew up with his time split between New Orleans and Ft. Walton Beach, FL. He graduated from Spring Hill College in 1964, and received his MS (1966) and PhD (1970) degrees from Florida State. During his graduate days he was also an instructor of Biology at Florida A&M.
He has taught at the University of South Alabama since 1972, where he is presently chairman of the Department of Marine Sciences, director of the Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies, and heads the Alabama Oyster Restoration program. He was associate director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for ten years. He edited the marine journal Northeast Gulf Science (now Gulf of Mexico Science) for twenty years, and for four years was editor of Systematic Zoology, a premier international journal devoted to evolutionary theory.
He served on the Board of Governors of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and was president of its southeastern division. He was appointed to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 1991, served as its chairman during 1996-1997 and again from 1999-2000, and was reappointed to the Council in 2005, and elected vice-chairman in 2007, and chairman in 2009. The Councils, created by Congress, are charged with management of the nation’s marine fishery resources. He is a consultant to the Alabama Coastal Conservation Association.
He has judged many fishing tournaments, including, since 1982, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, the nation’s oldest and largest tournament, which was recently featured along with Bob in the New Yorker magazine. He is a staff writer for Sport Fishing magazine, and authored the July 1999 issue cover story on Mako sharks. His semi-popular/semi-technical “Dr. Bob Shipp’s Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico” is currently in its fifth printing, and is used by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service for field identification of fishes. He has also authored scores of scientific as well as popular papers and articles.
His research interests are fish systematics and zoogeography, and ecology of artificial reef systems. On the latter topics he has presented numerous papers at conferences including two at the international reef conference in San Remo, Italy, and one in Brest, France. In 2001, he was asked to testify at Senate hearings on fisheries management, and in May, 2002, he was called to testify before Congress on the use of Marine Protected Areas (Sanctuaries) as a fisheries management tool, and again in 2007 on overfished stocks. He represented the Gulf Of Mexico Fishery Management Council on conferences on ecosystem management of fishery resources (Key Largo, February 2005) and was an invited participant and session chair at the NMFS conference on “Managing our Nation’s Fisheries” (Washington DC, March 2005).
His wife Linda (a PhD in developmental biology) taught at Spring Hill College for more than a decade. Together they have one son, Matt, owner of Mobile’s premier seafood restaurant, The Pillars., and Shipp’s Harbour Grill in Orange Beach Alabama, and two daughters. The older, Karla, is a business analyst for Franklin Templeton, and Erin, the younger, a senior marketing associate for J. P. Morgan.