We research life history and ecological processes that may influence the population sizes of marine fishes of waters off the Northeastern US in general, and the level of recruitment of yearclasses of these species in particular. Our approach relies on new and historic field collections and laboratory experimentation, focuses on processes from the individual to population level, and emphasizes features expressed in the first year of life (egg, larval, and juvenile stages). Although it is widely recognized that individual fish vary in most phenotypic characters such as size, condition, growth, and development rates, evaluations of the variability in these characters and how they influence population processes have been lacking. We seek to quantify such variability, identify its sources (environmental and/or parental), and evaluate its consequences with respect to individual fitness and population status.
Opportunities exist for field, retrospective, and laboratory experimental studies that will evaluate the patterns, sources, and consequences of life history variation in marine fishes important to this region. We are currently applying this methodology to studies that evaluate the potential consequences of climate change and other environmental co-stressors on fish populations. These studies focus on the effects of variations in thermal regimes, pCO2, hypoxia, and contaminants in estuarine and coastal waters, as well as the role of parentage, in offspring traits.
Fishes; Life history; Phenotype; Recruitment; Climate change; Ocean acidification; Phenotypic plasticity