My research interests lie broadly in fish ecology with an emphasis on movement and migratory behaviors. I am particularly interested in methods used to document movement (e.g., telemetry and microchemical techniques), the demographic consequences of movement and migration between populations and or patches, and the potential consequences that connectivity may have on overall population resilience and stability over time.
To this extent, much of my past research has focused on the ecology of two sturgeon species, the lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and the shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum). As a highly migratory and imperiled family of fishes, working with sturgeons provided a unique opportunity to mesh movement ecology with population dynamics in order to inform conservation efforts.
I have also applied otolith microchemical techniques to unravel potential sub-lethal effects of hypoxia exposure on Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Using geochemical proxies in otoliths (Mn:Ca and Ba:Ca), Dr. Benjamin Walther and I continue to work towards an understanding of how this species is affected by hypoxia and what the broader implications might be for croaker population sustainability.
My current research at the Illinois Natural History Survey seeks to understand the potential consequences of hydrologic separation of Lake Michigan and the Illinois River on aquatic resources of the Illinois River valley. Hydrologic separation represents one method for preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species (e.g., asian carp, Eurasian ruffe) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, yet the enormity of such an option requires stakeholders be well informed of the potential consequences (positive, neutral, negative).
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