Dispersal and connectivity of fishes in the Eastern Pacific
Broadly, I will look at the factors influencing the movement of eel larvae from Baja, Mexico to the California Channel Islands. Ultimately, I hope to understand how fish populations persist in this area of California, which has complex oceanographic conditions. My work will use a diverse combination of tools to examine the factors that influence dispersal of fish larvae in the Eastern Pacific, with a specific focus on eels. The lenses with which I'm examining dispersal/biogeography include:
Large-scale Bayesian statistical models
Otoliths/aging to examine changes in growth rate and pelagic larval duration time
Morphology (published -- body shape of eel larvae influences their range!)
Moray eel coloration and its relationship to habitat
Extracting DNA from California morays from MX and the US
Body shape is related to dispersal distance for Eastern Pacific leptocephali
California moray eels around Catalina Island show a wide range of hues, luminances, and patterns
Ichthyoplankton and zooplankton community composition around Catalina Island, CA
This side project aims to understand how the species composition and abundance of larval fish varies between location and season around Catalina Island. Read more about this project here.
We are also looking at octopus paralarvae (with the help of interns M. Narayan and E. Pilch) and zooplankton (senior thesis project of S. McCollum).
Me holding a self-made light trap on Catalina Island. Photo credit C. Law
Moray eel from the Galapagos Islands
Revisiting species distributions of muraenids in the Eastern Pacific
In this project, a colleague at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and I are revisiting the listed species distributions of moray eels (family Muraenidae) in the Eastern Pacific. These elusive coastal fishes are a lot more important in the ecosystem than people think (they're on the top of the food chain) but our current understanding of their distributions are coarse. We are aiming to clarify some ranges and draw attention to information gaps that future researchers can help fill.