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Principal Investigator      

Dr. Jay R. Rooker
Regents Professor & McDaniel Chair of Marine Fisheries
Department of Marine Biology (Galveston)
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (College Station)



Research Interest:

My research centers on the community and population ecology of aquatic organisms, with a special emphasis on marine fishes. I am particularly interested in linkages between habitat selection, individual responses, and survival. My work is both laboratory and field-based, and I typically use both quantitative and experimental approaches to elucidate the importance of biotic and abiotic factors that influence growth, condition, and survival. In addition, we are currently using a variety of natural markers to solve ecological problems. Otolith chemistry is being used to retrospectively determine the environmental histories of marine fishes. The premise of otolith chemistry is that certain elements or isotopes are incorporated into otoliths in proportion to their concentrations in the environment, and thus we use these elemental fingerprints to distinguish individuals from different environments or regions. We also use dietary tracers (stable isotopes, fatty acids) to investigate marine food web structure since consumer tissues reflect the isotopic and fatty acid composition of prey in a predictable manor. These natural biomarkers provide time-integrated or long-term measures of diet, and both approaches afford information on source(s) of organic matter supporting local food webs as well as trophic relationships of associated consumers. Recent work also involves the use of sophisticated electronic tags to investigate movement and population connectivity of coastal and pelagic fishes.





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Graduate Students      

Phillip Sanchez
Ph.D. Student



Education:

B.S. University of Florida (2010)
M.S. University of Puerto Rico (2016)

Research Interests:

My research interests are on marine fish ecology, with an emphasis on benthic fish behavioral dynamics and population structure. My dissertation investigates the population dynamics in commercially important deep water Gulf of Mexico grouper species via physical and geochemical techniques and spatial analytical tools. With these methods, we can increase our understanding of the life history and habitat use of important fisheries species with a focus to enhance conservation and management policy.





Jason Mostowy
M.S. Student



Education:

B.S. University of Miami (2015)

Research Interests:

For my project, I'll be using a towed camera system and acoustic surveys to study benthic habitats in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico, with a particular focus on the spatial ecology of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus). My past research has included the early life history of reef fishes and invasive lionfish feeding ecology.





Jeffrey Pinsky
M.S. Student



Education:

B.S. Texas A&M University (2005)

Research Interests:

I am interested in studying the life history and population dynamics of marine fishes. I have worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, Regulatory division as a Project manager since 2008.





Chris Steffen
M.S. Student



Education:

B.S. Texas A&M University (2016)

Research Interests:

I am interested in the small and large scale connectivity of marine fishes, with an emphasis on how it relates to wildlife management. I am currently studying the ingress and egress patterns of southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) in Galveston Bay using acoustic telemetry. This will provide information about the timing of migration events, aiding in the identification of migration pathways and spawning time periods.





Shane Stephens
M.S. Student



Education:

B.S. Texas A&M University (2018)





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Research Associates      

Dr. Michelle Sluis
Postdoctoral Research Associate



Education:

Ph.D. Louisiana State University (2011)
B.S. Texas A&M University (2004)

Research Interests:

My research interests include ecology and population dynamics of marine fish, with an emphasis on conservation and management. The majority of my work is centered on using otolith chemistry to estimate population connectivity and stock structure of different ecologically and economically important marine fish. I currently manage the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), assisting with several projects that rely on this instrument. The ICP-MS has been paired with a laser to ablate specific microscopic regions of the otolith, allowing us to focus on the core region to develop nursery signatures of Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares), or develop life history transects across the whole otolith to examine stock structure of Snowy Grouper (Hyporthodus niveatus).





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Former Lab Members      

Dr. Mike Dance
(Postdoctoral Research Associate 2016-2018)



Current Position:

Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University.





Corinne Meinert
(M.S. 2018)



Current Position:

Environmental Specialist, Perennial Environmental Services.





Jessica Lee
(Research Associate 2012-2018)



Current Position:

Administrative Associate, Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston.





Dr. Maelle Cornic
(Ph.D. 2017)



Current Position:

Post Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.





Dr. Larissa Kitchens
(Ph.D. 2017)






David Moulton
(M.S. 2015)



Current Position:

Ph.D. Student, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.





Lynne Wetmore
(M.S. 2014)



Current Position:

Ph.D. student, Joint Doctorate with San Diego State University and UC Davis.





Landes Randall
(M.S. 2014)



Current Position:

Fisheries Technician, Colorado Parks and Wildlife.





Dr. Nathan Furey
(M.S. 2012)



Current Position:

Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire.





Jeffrey Simms
(M.S. 2009)



Current Position:

Senior Staff Scientist, Cardno ENTRIX, Houston, TX.





Ryan Schloesser
(M.S. 2009)



Current Position:

Ph.D. student, Virginia Institute of Marine Science.





Dr. Jessica L. Beck
(Ph.D 2008)



Current Position:

Southeast Regional Aquaculture Coordinator, Aquaculture Program, NOAA, US Department of Commerce.





Joseph J. Mikulas
(M.S. 2007)



Current Position:

Secondary Science Teacher, Katy ISD, TX.





Dr. Lindsay Glass Campbell
(M.S. 2006)



Current Position:

Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.





Dr. Richard T. Kraus
(Post-doc 2003-2006)



Current Position:

Station Supervisor, Lake Erie Biological Station, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Sandusky, Ohio.





Yan Cai
(M.S. 2005)



Current Position:

Research Associate, Hainan University.





Dr. Jason P. Turner
(Ph.D 2004)



Current Position:

Associate Professor, University of Hawai'i at Hilo.





Dr. R.J. David Wells
(M.S. 2002, Post-doc 2007-2010)



Current Position:

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University at Galveston.





Matt W. Johnson
(M.S. 2000)



Current Position:

Assistant Research Scientist and Fisheries and Mariculture Program Coordinator, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.





Bert W. Geary
(M.S. 2000)






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