Fisheries ecology focuses on the study of ecological processes influencing the dynamics of fish species of commercial and recreational importance. Research topics of fisheries ecology range from developing monitoring program, fish habitat, fish life history, population and ecosystem dynamics, and management issues. For example, we conducted studies to identify cost-effective monitoring program to collect data and estimate effective sample sizes. Quantification of spatial interactions among species and environments is also one of research focuses of my lab.
Population dynamics studies key life history and fishing processes, such as growth, recruitment, mortality, and selectivity, and their impacts on the abundance and structure of populations. We developed models with biological realisms and uncertainty, which can improve the simulation of fish life history and fisheries processes. Quantitative models that we developed include age/length-based models, single/multi-species models, individual-based models, and so on. These models have been applied to quantify the dynamics of crustacean, reef fishes and highly migratory species.
Fisheries stock assessment evaluates status of fisheries resources and provides fisheries managers with much of the information necessary to make optimal fisheries management. We developed management strategy evaluation approach to evaluate the potential impacts and the risk of alternative strategies in the managements of bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna and American lobster fisheries. Optimal strategies based on specific management objectives can be identified and ineffective ones should be eliminated before they causing damage to the fisheries resource.
Ecological modeling simulates the spatial and temporal dynamics of a multi-species ecosystem. It can incorporate biological, chemical and physical processes and has been more widely used in the fisheries managements. We developed ecological models to explore the relationships among species within an ecosystem, to identify the keystone species, to study the dynamics of communities, and to understand how the environmental changes affect fish stocks.
(Figure from ecoapth.org)