R. J. DAVID WELLS

EMAIL: wellsr@tamug.edu

POSITION: Assistant Professor

EDUCATION: Ph.D. Louisiana State University (2007), M.S. Texas A&M University (2002), B.S. Oregon State University (1998)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Biology and ecology of bony fishes, sharks, and rays. Research focus on life history, habitat use, movement, and feeding ecology of marine species throughout sub-tropical and temperate ecosystems.

 JOHN MOHAN

EMAIL: jmohan@tamu.edu

POSITION: Postdoctoral Research Associate

EDUCATION: PhD. University of Texas (2015), M.S. East Carolina University (2009), B.S. Penn State University (2006)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research addresses questions in fish ecology related to migration patterns, habitat use, and feeding dynamics by utilizing natural chemical tags. Fish otoliths provide information on the types of environments fish experience and tissue stable isotopes reveal recent dietary histories. Combining natural tags provides a multi-proxy approach for linking migration and environmental exposure histories to trophic ecology in ecologically and economically important species. My current post-doc research combines non-lethal natural tags (scale and blood chemistry) with acoustic and satellite tagging technology to relate migrations patterns with feeding dynamics and physiology of recreational species.

PUBLICATIONS:
Mohan, J.A., S.D. Smith, T.L. Connelly, E.T. Attwood, J. McClelland, S.Z. Herzka, B.D. Walther. 2016. Tissue-specific isotopic turnover and discrimination factors are affected by diet quality and lipid content in a marine consumer. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 479:35-45

Mohan, J.A., and B.D. Walther. 2015. Spatiotemporal variation of trace elements and stable isotopes in subtropical estuaries: II. Regional, local, and seasonal salinity-element relationships. Estuaries and Coasts 38:769-781

Mohan, J.A., N.M Halden, and R.A. Rulifson. 2015. Habitat use of juvenile striped bass Morone saxatilis (Actinopterygii: Moronidae) in rivers spanning a salinity gradient across a shallow wind-driven estuary. Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:1105-1116

Limburg, K.E., B.D. Walther, Z. Lu, G. Jackman, J. Mohan, Y. Walther, A. Nissling, P.K. Weber, and A.K. Schmitt. 2015. In search of the dead zone: use of otoliths for tracking fish exposure to hypoxia. Journal of Marine Systems 141:167-178

Mohan, J.A., M.S. Rahman, P. Thomas, B.D. Walther. 2014. Influence of constant and periodic experimental hypoxic stress on Atlantic croaker otolith chemistry. Aquatic Biology 20:1-11

Mohan, J.A., R.A. Rulifson, D.R. Corbett, and N.M. Halden. 2012. Validation of oligohaline elemental otolith signatures of striped bass by use of in situ caging experiments and water chemistry. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 4:57-70

 TOM TINHAN

EMAIL: t.tinhan@gmail.com

POSITION: Ph.D. student

EDUCATION: M.S., California State University, Long Beach (2013)
B.S. University of Hawai'i at Manoa (2009)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My dissertation research focuses on the movement patterns of bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) across the western Gulf of Mexico, and identifying environmental predictors of these movements over multiple temporal and spatial scales. I am also interested in the management implications and trophic dynamics of reproductive aggregations in marine predators.

PUBLICATIONS:
Tinhan T, Erisman B, Aburto-Oropeza O, Weaver A, Vazquez-Arce D, Lowe CG (2014). Residency and seasonal movements in Lutjanus argentiventris and Mycteroperca rosacea at Los Islotes Reserve, Gulf of California. Marine Ecology Progress Series 501: 191-206view as pdf

 TRAVIS RICHARDS

EMAIL: travis.richards3@gmail.com

POSITION: Ph.D. student

EDUCATION: M.S. Florida State University (2014), B.S. Eckerd College (2007)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research interests focus on marine community dynamics and food web ecology with an emphasis on predator-prey relationships, niche partitioning, spatial and temporal variation in food web structure, and the role that animal movement and migration plays in forming trophic linkages between spatially separated habitats. For my PhD research, I’ll be examining how vertically migrating fishes and invertebrates potentially act as trophic links between epipelagic (0-200 m), mesopelagic (200-1,000 m) and bathypelagic (>1,000 m) assemblages.

PUBLICATIONS:
Richards, Travis M., Justin M. Krebs, and Carole C. McIvor. 2011. Microhabitat associations of a semi-terrestrial fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus (Poey 1880) in a mosquito-ditched mangrove forest, west-central Florida. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 401: 48-56.

 NATALIE SPEAR

EMAIL: nspear@gmail.com

POSITION: M.S. Student

EDUCATION: B.S. UC Berkeley (2005)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research interests and experience are wide ranging within the field of marine conservation. I am focusing on the age and growth of the common thresher shark for my graduate research, using oxytetracycline tag and recapture techniques to validate vertebral banding patterns in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This project relies heavily on the participation of human populations in recapture data and sample collection, thus a portion of my master’s thesis will be dedicated to the human dimensions of thresher shark research and conservation. I am interested in how humans relate to other organisms and what perpetuates a shift in these patterns.

PUBLICATIONS:
Sepulveda CA, Heberer C, Aalbers SA, Spear N, Kinney M, Bernal D, Kohin S (2015). Post-release survivorship studies on common thresher sharks (Alopias vulpinus) captured in the southern California recreational fishery. Fisheries Research 161: 102-108 view as pdf

Wells RJD, Smith SE, Kohin S, Freund E, Spear N, Ramon DA (2013). Age validation of juvenile Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) tagged and marked with oxytetracycline off southern California. Fishery Bulletin 111:147-160 view as pdf

Preti A, Soykan CU, Dewar H, Wells RJD, Spear N, Kohin S (2012). Comparative feeding ecology of shortfin mako, blue and thresher sharks in the California Current. Environmental Biology of Fishes 95: 127-146 view as pdf

 KAYLAN DANCE

EMAIL: kaylanbradley@aggienetwork.com

POSITION: M.S. Student

EDUCATION: B.S. Texas A&M University (2012)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: I am interested in the ecology of marine fishes and the biotic/abiotic parameters that affect the sustainability of recreational and commercially important species. My thesis research aims to assess the functional role of artificial reefs to associated fish communities off the Texas coast. Species composition, abundance, and diversity will be assessed, and natural dietary tracers will be used to identify the primary source(s) of organic matter. The impact of the numerous artificial reefs deployed in Texas waters is not well understood. Results of this project will provide valuable insight and data to resource managers and fisheries scientists for predicting the ecological implications of adding or removing artificial reefs in the future.

 VERONICA QUESNELL

EMAIL: quesnel3@neo.tamu.edu

POSITION: M.S. Student

EDUCATION: B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University (2012)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My interests lie in marine fisheries ecology and ecosystem management. I am also interested in the study of human dimensions as I believe that clear communication between policy-makers, researchers, fisherman, and the public is vital to effective conservation. For my graduate research, I am examining the stock structure of swordfish in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean using otolith chemistry methodology, including both stable isotopes and trace elements. This information will provide scientists, fisherman, and fisheries management with a better understanding of the movement dynamics and mixing rates of this species throughout different regions.

 JEFF PLUMLEE

EMAIL: jplumlee@tamu.edu

POSITION: M.S. Student

EDUCATION: B.S. Marine Fisheries, Texas A&M University (2015)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research interests focus around community structure of marine ecosystems and how they are affected by trophic dynamics. My thesis will focus on two main topics. First, describing the community structure of fishes utilizing artificial reefs along the Texas coast by directly estimating abundance and biomass using vertical longlines and traps, as well as indirectly using active acoustics. Second, relating the community structure of these fishes to their trophic structure by utilizing fatty acid and bulk stable isotope (carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur) biomarkers. Conclusions derived from this research will aid fisheries managers in better understanding the function of artificial reef structures to fish communities and the role of these reefs in the food webs in the northwest Gulf of Mexico.

PUBLICATIONS:
Harrington T, Plumlee JD, Drymon JM and Wells RJD (2016). Diets of Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) and Bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Gulf and Caribbean Research 27: 42-51.view as pdf

Plumlee JD, Wells RJD (2016) Feeding ecology of three coastal shark species in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series 550: 163-174view as pdf

 PAST STUDENTS

TYLER HARRINGTON

EMAIL: bimmerracer@hotmail.com

EDUCATION:M.S. Texas A&M University (2014), B.S. Colorado State University (2012)




Wells Shark Biology and Fisheries Lab // Texas A&M University // Department of Marine Biology // 1001 Texas Clipper Rd. // Galveston, TX 77553