My research focuses on assessing threats to aquatic ecosystems including invasive species, pollution, habitat change, etc. Most often I pair ecological and evolutionary concepts to understand applied issues in aquatic ecology. Below are a few tools I frequently use to answer my research questions...
Understanding an organism's morphology can yield key insights into its ecology, especially foraging behavior. By simply taking a digital photograph of an individual, geometric morphometrics be highly efficient and effective in revealing key insights into an individual's ecological function. Therefore, I often use geometric morphometrics to progress our understanding of how form relates to function across several taxa.
Geometric morphometrics superimposes all the digitized "landmarks" on top of each other to give a more seamless shape comparison
Digital morphometrics can reveal subtle differences in morphology that can relate to habitat, feeding ecology, genetics, etc.
Stable isotopes, specifically 15N and 13C, are reflective of the prey an individual consumes. By quantifying the ratios of these two isotopes, we are able to get a snapshot of an aquatic food web across multiple trophic levels, from algae to top predators. Since only about 1 mg of sample is needed, this tool is incredibly useful to any questions involving food webs and forage behavior.
Tissue (fish or invertebrates) are ground into a powder, and packed into a tin capsule that will late be combusted to quantify stable isotope ratios
Measuring stable isotopes allows us to construct food webs and trace shifts in food web dynamics.