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Zeb Hogan

Freshwater Ecologist

Freshwater ecologist and National Geographic Fellow, Zeb Hogan, is dedicated to the research and protection of the world’s largest freshwater fish.


Hogan earned an undergraduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona. He later became a visiting Fulbright student at the Environmental Risk Assessment Program at Thailand's Chiang Mai University. Returning to the United States, Hogan completed a National Science Foundation-sponsored Ph.D. in ecology at the University of California, Davis. He also received a fellowship at the University of Wisconsin and World Wildlife Fund.


Hogan’s research has focused on migratory fish ecology, multi-species fisheries management, the status and conservation of giant freshwater fish, endangered species issues and conservation genetics. He has crisscrossed six continents—North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia—and has come face-to-face with some of the biggest fish in existence, such as Thailand’s 14-foot-long freshwater stingray or Mongolia’s six-foot trout. Hogan’s dogged conservation efforts have led to treks up the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers, through the Lake Baikal watershed in Russia, and projects on tributaries of the Danube and Yangtze River in China.


In 2006, Hogan began leading the Society’s “Megafishes Project”, representing the first worldwide attempt to document and protect the world's largest freshwater fishes. Around the world, freshwater ecosystems support tens of thousands of unique species and hundreds of millions of people. The world's biggest freshwater fish, many of which weigh more than 200 pounds, face the biggest threats. Through the “Megafishes Project,” Hogan travels to the most endangered of these environments, striving to save critically endangered fish and the livelihood of people who share their habitats. Hogan documents his discoveries on the Nat Geo WILD television series, Monster Fish.


Hogan believes new approaches, investment, and research offer real hope to both fish and fishing communities. In Cambodia, for example, when fishermen catch vulnerable species, Hogan buys those live fish, studies and tags them, then releases them downstream from the fishermen's nets. The practice keeps more endangered fish alive and allows scientists to gain insight on fish migration patterns, habitat use, and mortality rates—knowledge, Hogan hopes, that will lead to the creation of no-fishing zones and more sustainable management of Cambodia's fisheries.

Highlights & Accomplishments
Megafish are defined as being at least 6-feet long and weighing 200 lbs. or more • Hogan's quest to document and save the world's largest freshwater fish has taken him around the world, from Mongolia, to Australia, to Thailand.
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