Dr. Todd Osborne

Project Title
Fish Behavior in Coastal Wetlands
Time Commitment
6-10 hours/week
Research Credit, Unpaid
Possible Co-Authorship
Project Description
Our research aims to compare the quality of fish habitat of saltmarsh and mangroves for feeding and refuge. This is important because with climate change mangroves are moving northward and intruding into saltmarsh. Although these systems have been attributed with many of the same ecosystem services little research has been done to compare how these systems are used by faunal communities. Fish are particularly important in coastal ecosystem by transferring nutrients from feeding in tidal inundated wetlands to the marine environment. Changing from a grassy to a woody vegetation may have important consequences on the ability of fish to successfully hunt for prey and inversely hide from predators, changing the flow of nutrients and ecosystem structures. To determine the effect of changing vegetation on fish feeding and refuge we will be conducting lab tank experiments. Tank will be set up as a choice arena with Spartina alternaflora (smooth cordgrass), Avicennia germinans (black mangroves), and Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove). Arena will be used to test prey fish affinity for each habitat both with and without the presence of a predatory fish, as well as predatory fish ability to successfully hunt in each vegetation type. We are looking for someone who would be interested in analyze fish behavior from videos (counting number of fish captured in the videos, whether they are traveling in a school, attempting to forage, and how long they spending the frame of the camera). If interested there is potential to travel to the Whitney Lab for Marine Biosciences to see the experiment in person, or to help with related fieldwork. If interested or if you have any questions please contact Julie Walker: julie.walker@ufl.edu

Contact Info

Email: julie.walker@ufl.edu

Phone: (240) 434-2215