Habitat function and conservation

Conservation of marine and estuarine fisheries requires a robust knowledge of the life history of these species and the potential habitats they use for feeding, breeding, and nursery purposes. Historically, analysis of these essential areas has been constrained to natural environments. However, given the increased interactions between humans and the aquatic environments, new types of physical (e.g., dock pilings, artificial reefs) and dynamic habitats (e.g., changes in turbidity) are emerging and forcing many aquatic natural resources like fishes to interact with these features. 

Our group is extremely interested in comparative studies of fish ecology and biology between natural and artificial habitats, as well as studying the responses of these organisms to anthropogenic stressors. Some of these interesting study habitats include offshore Rigs-to-Reefs structures in the Gulf of Mexico as well as highly impacted estuaries such as Baffin Bay and the Indian River Lagoon.