Habitat-specific productivity and connectivity in diadromous fish populations
We are interested in understanding how dynamic environmental conditions in estuaries, at the interface of freshwater and marine ecosystems, affect growth, survival, and recruitment in freshwater, diadromous, and marine fish populations. To tackle this question, we use a variety of approaches (e.g., otolith chemistry, stable isotopes, dietary analysis, back-calculated growth rates) to link lifetime patterns of habitat use to life history patterns in both freshwater and marine fishes.
Ecology & management of reservoir fish populations
Reservoir fish populations support important recreational fisheries across the southeast which improve the quality of life for residents while generating positive economic impacts. Current research efforts are aimed at investigating spatial, temporal patterns & environmental correlates of recruitment and mortality in reservoir fisheries. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how management actions (e.g., habitat enhancements, harvest regulations) can be tailored so that they improve the sustainability and resilience of reservoir fisheries, which are frequently faced with multiple stressors (e.g., hypoxia, drought, invasive species).
Climate change effects on fish and aquatic ecosystems
While research has indicated that climate change may have positive effects on temperate fish populations, climate change may also negatively affect fish populations through a variety of mechanisms. As thermal regimes change and the timing of seasonal transitions shifts, we are conducting field and laboratory research to understand how fish will respond to altered environmental conditions. Specifically, we are focusing on how longer growing seasons and shorter, warmer winters will impact fish growth and reproduction.
Freshwater and marine fisheries provide important nutritional benefits to human populations. However, contaminant bioaccumulation and the resulting fish consumption advisories reduce the nutritional benefits provided by fisheries. Contaminant burdens in fish are the result of complex environmental and physiological processes that control the rate of uptake, excretion, passive release, and metabolization. Our research efforts in this area seek to generate science-based knowledge that will inform management efforts to monitor and ameliorate contamination in fish populations.