Research

OK Rhoades photoI am currently a PhD candidate in the Stachowicz Lab at the University of California – Davis. I work at the interface of behavioral and community ecology to address the effectiveness of marine management practices.

Through subtidal research, I investigate how animal behavioral shifts contribute to ecosystem structure and function. My current research addresses the impacts of human-induced shifts in fish flight and foraging behaviors, and the role of MPAs in mitigating these impacts.

Humans influence marine systems in a variety of ways, ranging from overharvesting to altering the ways that species move, forage, and interact with other animals.  MPAs, or marine protected areas, have been implemented worldwide to help restore ecological communities, enhance fishery productivity, and preserve important cultural heritage sites. MPAs have been partly successful in re-establishing fish abundance and size. But do MPAs restore baseline fish behaviors, such as fish flight and foraging? This is what I seek to determine through the course of my dissertation.