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Martha Hauff:

Ph.D. Student

Most coral reef fishes exhibit a bipartite life cycle whereby benthic-oriented adults spawn larvae that spend days to months in the pelagic (open ocean) environment before settling back onto the reef and metamorphosing into juveniles.  This pelagic larval period is integral to reef fish population dynamics, and is the central mechanism by which inter-population exchange of individuals (i.e. population connectivity) can occur. Thus, pelagic larval fish condition will constitute the focus of my research. In my dissertation I plan to sample larvae from both nearshore and offshore environments in and around the Florida Keys reef tract, and then use otolith-derived growth measurements and newly developed biochemical assays to compare the nutritional conditions of both locally spawned and distantly spawned larvae.  This work will hopefully elucidate some of the factors that contribute to larval fish survival, and should help to assess the potential for distantly spawned larvae to effectively contribute to a given reef fish population. In addition to my interest in the early life history of fishes, I also enjoy spending time “running through the fields” and drinking grande, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla, sugar-free hazelnut chai lattes at Starbucks.


Adam Greer:

Ph.D. Student

Processes occurring in the larval phase of fishes play an important role in determining the degree of population variability in the adult phase. However, due to the limitations of traditional plankton sampling equipment, many physical and biological processes affecting larval fish survival are under-studied in the field. My research focuses on using an In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS) to study fine scale (centimeters to tens of meters) distributions of larval fish, prey items (small copepods and appendicularians), and planktonic predators, and how these distributions relate in time and space. I am also interested in how mesoscale features, such as fronts, eddies, and internal waves influence the patchiness of plankton. With the use of ISIIS, we have a unique opportunity to quantify plankton densities in a variety of organisms that are under-sampled in net systems (e.g. bongo and MOCNESS), such as ctenophores and siphonophores, which are important predators of larval fishes. We have deployed ISIIS in different locations including Monterey Bay, Georges Bank, the Straits of Florida, and offshore of San Diego. On a personal note, I enjoy sports, rock music, and living in the great city of Miami.


Jessica Luo

Ph.D. student

Broadly, my research interests lie in marine population connectivity and larval dispersal of fishes. I'm interested in the factors that drive metapopulation dynamics and population connectivity on a continual coastline. I'm also interested in how global change might affect larval dispersal. My work will be focused on coral reef fish in the Florida Keys marine ecosystem, and I hope to use a variety of tools (geochemical tracers, trace metal chemistry, biophysical modeling) to address these questions. My interests arose out of my previous work at Point Reyes National Seashore on the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which is a planning process for a network of marine protected areas off the coast of California. In addition, I have a background in stable isotope and trace metal biogeochemistry; for my Master's research at Stanford University, I used C and N stable isotopes and trace metals to study zooplankton seasonal and spatial dynamics in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea. Finally, I am passionate about ocean education, science communication, and connecting under-represented youth with our natural marine ecosystems. Jessica Luo is supported on a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Robert E. Maytag Fellowship. (CV pdf)



Jonathan Kool:

Michelle Paddack:

John Purcell:

David Richardson:

Mark Sullivan:

Stacy Luthy: