I am a marine biologist fascinated with predators. I have always been enthralled by the daily challenges species face and must overcome in order to survive. Survival is the greatest persistent challenge to every living organism on this planet, and this source of stress can be either natural or human-induced.
Most of my work focuses on the sharks and their conservation, although I also commonly study other species of fish and even occasionally veer out of the water to look at other species such as birds and mammals.
Behavior and physiology are the two domains where I do most of my work, and I try to integrate them as much as possible. Usually this results in some combination of movement analysis or tracking with evaluations of animal health, stress, or nutrition. I also utilize classic behavioral ecology approaches and I am a firm believer in linking theory with observation and natural history. Below are three of my primary areas of focus.
Shark ecology, behavior, and physiology
Sharks are one of the most popular groups of animals on the planet, although today populations of many species are threatened due to overfishing. I am fortunate to have a large research program focusing on advancing our knowledge of these iconic predators, and using this information to inform their conservation. These projects focus on understanding the behavior, stress, nutrition and energy, and reproduction of sharks off North America and the Caribbean, as well as in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Some of this research includes fisheries-related work, including a new initiative through Beneath the Waves to tag sharks and track their movements along with those of fishing boats, in partnership with Oceana, Google, Skytruth, and the University of Miami.
Predator-prey relationships shape entire ecosystems and I am very interested in the role top predators play on food webs and in the lives of humans. I am primarily looking at how predators affect prey species in marine ecosystems, but I am also involved in similar research in the air, and on land. This work involves looking at the effects predators have on prey species through direct consumption and also through fear-based, indirect methods.
Effects of stress on fish
Humans are profoundly affecting the daily lives of species. These interactions can be acute and physical, like catching an animal or removing its habitat, or they may occur indirectly through the transmission of sounds or the changing of temperate. I am involved in a variety of projects that look at how real and simulated human stressors like noise pollution and fisheries capture affect fish survival and fitness, in temperate and tropical waters. Much of this work is done in conjunction with my colleagues from the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab at Carleton University.
I invite you to take a deeper look at my Publications to track my research outputs as they develop.
Robbie Roemer, University of Miami (Master's, Supervisory Committee): movements of large sharks along an urbanized gradient in South Florida
Cindy Gonzalez, University of Los Andes, Colombia (Master's, Co-supervisor): conservation genetics of hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic and Caribbean ocean basins
Pedro Gonzalez, University of Las Palmas of Grand Canaries, (PhD, Co-supervisor): ecotourism of sharks in the Canary Islands
Jacob Jerome, University of Miami, USA (MS, Committee, Graduated Fall 2016): shark stress physiology to capture