Research Opportunities

Information for Prospective Students

At the present time my research program involves field studies based at the Makerere University Biological Field Station and Fisheries Resources Research Institute in Uganda and laboratory studies at McGill University. As detailed in my Research Interests, my current research focuses on aquatic ecology and aquatic conservation with an emphasis on the physiological ecology, population ecology, and community ecology of freshwater fishes. I am particularly interested in the evolutionary and ecological consequences of respiratory strategies in fishes and the impact of faunal isolation and reunification on the ecology and evolution of fish faunas. In the field of aquatic conservation, I am currently focusing on patterns of species loss and resurgence in waters of the Lake Victoria basin of East Africa (see Conservation Interests)

I use several approaches to address these themes:

1) comparative ecological studies of swamp fishes with different respiratory strategies,
2) examination of interdemic variation in the respiratory physiology, morphology, and behavior of fishes and laboratory and field studies of performance and fitness tradeoffs that may contribute to the maintenance of local phenotypes,
3) laboratory rearing studies to quantify the degree to which developmental plasticity and genetic differences contribute to observed patterns of variation in respiratory traits and associated characters,
4) studies linking experimental physiology with field experiments and empirical analysis of field distribution patterns,
5) collection of material for the examination of genetic differentiation of fish populations separated by swamp barriers and for exploration of patterns of hybridization and morphological diversification in resurging populations in lakes with Nile perch.
6) documentation of the low-oxygen tolerance and habitat use of both indigenous and introduced species from sites that vary in oxygen regime.

Currently I am interested in supervising studies that relate to any of the above programs. There are clearly both laboratory and field problems that would integrate nicely with our overall objectives. From a field perspective, I am keen to see development of research programs relating respiratory strategies to field distributions, patterns of movement, or community structure, or studies of interdemic variation in respiratory traits and performance and fitness tradeoffs that may contribute to the maintenance of local phenotypes; however, I would also consider taking on students that wish to work on other aspects of the ecology of tropical freshwater fishes. For students interested in a field-oriented program, I would like to encourage participation in our African studies.

If you are interested in our laboratory, I would encourage you to read some of our papers (see Publications), and look at the various topics that my students have undertaken for their graduate research (see Lab Members). Think about potential areas that interest you, and contact me to begin correspondence. I limit the number of students in my lab to permit me to assist from a financial perspective (work in Africa tends to be expensive), and to permit me to give my graduate students sufficient time.