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Ecology of Movement and Migration 

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I am fascinated by the ways that the movement strategies of individual animals affect ecological processes, influencing population size, resilience, and community structure.

I am especially intrigued by how environmental processes across patchy landscapes drive selection and evolution of diverse life-histories within populations. 

My work is inherently interdisciplinary. I believe that reaching across disciplines and viewpoints is critical for solving many scientific problems, as well as a stimulating way to explore the world. I welcome collaborators across diverse life-experiences, across fields, and under-represented groups.

Notable results include: 

  • Detailing spatial distribution of an evolving migration strategy in Chinook salmon.

  • The first individual-level migration data in dourada, an Amazonian catfish that makes the longest freshwater migration in the world.

  • Studies of sonification (data-to-sound) as a tool for exploring fish movement.

  • Maternally inherited chemical signatures in otoliths may change after egg laying.

  • Chemical predictions from geologic maps improve fish movement reconstruction.

  • Time-series methods from big-data analytics are useful for ecological datasets.

Otoliths

My work often uses fish ear bones to uncover their movements. As strange as that last sentence sounds it is true. Fish ear bones (called otoliths) grow in rings like a tree. The chemistry of these rings can tell us where a fish went, sometimes in incredible detail. 

The presentation below, from the Gulf of Maine Research Insitute, explains a little bit about what otoliths are, and what their structure and chemistry reveals about fish movement, behavior, and populations.