We currently have several research projects in various stages, ranging from proposal to publication. As with many labs, our research projects often overlap, along with personnel. Below is a description of a few larger research themes the lab is working on.
Southern Flounder Biology
We have been investigating southern flounder in the Atlantic Ocean (with collaborator Fred Scharf, UNCW) going back to 2009. Although we remain involved in the Atlantic stock through data and assessment, we are also shifting our focus to collect southern flounder in the Gulf of Mexico. Through partnering with state agencies, we are planning more work on topics ranging from age, growth, and reproduction, all the way to estuarine habitat use and productivity.
Coastal Fisheries in Tanzania
Through a large NSF-funded project we have been able to do field work in Coastal Tanzania looking at habitat (e.g., mangrove) use of various coastal fish species, along with working to develop species and demographic descriptions of harvest. Because mangrove ecosystem services and resources are central to small coastal fishing villages, it is very important to understand patterns of resource use and how they may ultimately be conserved for sustainable use.
Scianids (e.g., sea trout, red drum, black drum) are high-value recreational and commercial species in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. Although simple, traditional models have often been used to describe their growth—a key parameter and input for stock assessments—recent work has suggested that sciaenid species may show more variable growth than is typically described. We are currently collaborating with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to re-examine fishery data in an effort to improve our description of sciaenid growth.
Transboundary Fisheries Science
From 2013–2014 we built a large database by compiling over a dozen state agency fish sampling programs. With more than 40 million records, the large spatial and temporal extent of this unique database has allowed us to ask questions at scales not typically addressed with traditional fisheries data. To date, we have investigated multi-species occurrence, landuse thresholds on fish occurrence, and questions about biological invasions. Several additional analyses are in the works. (Please contact us if you have a collaborative interest.)
We are also involved in a range of other research projects, from more basic biological descriptions of species to physiological experiments and hierarchical model development. Please see our publications for specifics, or contact us with questions.