My research interests include the ecology and physiology of fishes. Dr. Bennett’s lab enables us to combine these disciplines together so we can address eco-physiological questions. Although I find all fish fascinating, I’m primarily interested in freshwater species like those that can breathe air, are exotic, or have other unique adaptations. My previous experiences have been in fisheries related field work with freshwater species like the threatened bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus, and the northern snakehead, Channa argus, an exotic species in the Potomac River.
My thesis work will concentrate on the exotic bullseye snakehead, Channa marulius, which can be found in select freshwater canals here in Florida. I will be attempting to quantify thermal tolerance of this fish at low temperatures. Low temperature tolerances of exotic fishes are important controlling factors which limit movement and dispersal of these species into new areas. Since temperatures rarely become low enough to induce fish mortality, thermal stress and recovery at low, near-lethal temperatures may prove to be more useful when predicting a species lower thermal tolerance. I will use both mathematical modeling and laboratory trials to create predictive models which can then be used to better understand an exotic species ability to disperse.