Kim Holland, PhD
My interest is in the physiological ecology of marine organisms and in the interface between animal behavior and physiology. In researching these topics, I try to combine laboratory and fieldwork methods to address the questions at hand. Recently, this has taken the form of tracking the movements of pelagic and nearshore fishes and trying to relate their diel movements, home range sizes and swimming strategies to their foraging success and energy budgets. This research also has resource management ramifications. Originally trained as a chemosensory physiologist, I maintain an interest in this field.
Carl Meyer, PhD, FIBiol
My current research focuses on the ecology and management of sharks and reef fishes. I’m interested in the movement patterns, habitat use and trophic ecology of sharks and fishes, and the navigational abilities of sharks. My research addresses a variety of issues of management concern including impacts of shark ecotourism, shark predation on critically endangered species, effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and impacts of human recreational activities in MPAs.
Melanie Hutchinson, PhD
Assistant Marine Researcher, JIMAR/PIFSC/NOAA
My overarching research interests are geared towards reducing the negative impacts of commercial fisheries on non-target and sensitive species. I work closely with commercial fisherman and industry personnel to come up with practical solutions to bycatch problems that can be implemented into current fishing practices. I am very interested in the physiology of capture stress and use a variety of physiological techniques to estimate post-release survival rates for sharks that are discarded in commercial fisheries. With this information we can advise fishers on how and/or when to release sharks to improve survival rates. I am also interested in the movement behavior and habitat use of pelagic shark species and use both satellite and acoustic telemetry technologies to investigate where they go and when. The movement data transmitted by the tags helps us devise strategies to reduce interaction rates between sharks and different fishing gears.
Broadly, I am interested in the sensory biology, ecology and behavioral ecology of elasmobranchs and other fishes. My PhD research focuses on the perception and use of magnetic fields in elasmobranchs, working with scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) and sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) as my principle subject species. My studies aim to elucidate the means and mechanisms by which this is achieved from cell to whole organism. My research incorporates a range of approaches and disciplines to achieve this aim.
Danny Coffey, MSc
My research is broadly focused on understanding how marine predators utilize and move through their environment and investigating what mechanisms drive this behavior, such as physiological constraints induced by the environment. For my dissertation, I am utilizing novel technologies to characterize dissolved oxygen at depth and examining the physiological and behavioral responses of vertically migrating sharks to low oxygen concentrations. Understanding physiological limitations will elucidate potential impacts on behavior and distribution patterns due to environmental regime shifts associated with climate change.
I am interested in the physiological ecology and behavior of elasmobranchs and other fishes. For my dissertation research, I use a variety of tagging technology and laboratory techniques to investigate the thermoregulation, body activity and behavior of sharks that migrate between drastically different thermal environments on a daily basis. Understanding how sharks respond physiologically and behaviorally to temperature change is important for predicting how they will be impacted in a changing ocean environment. I hope to use this research to contribute to the management and conservation of coastal and pelagic species of sharks. I also gather footage and photo-document the various projects and field studies our group conducts. This footage is used primarily for outreach purposes, allowing the general public to see our lab in action in various field work operations.
Jeff Muir, MSc
Fisheries Research Technician
My research currently focuses on observing tuna interactions with fish aggregating devices (FADs), how fish behave inside a fishing net and tracking large marine animals to document their survival after encountering the fishing process. The observations and data collected from these studies will aid in designing effective ways to avoid bycatch during the fishing process.