Image credits: B. Walther, J. Mohan, M. Seeley, B. Cutler, S. Smith, A. Montalvo. 

About the lab

Our lab conducts research on a variety of topics related to fish ecology, migration, habitat use, food web interactions and environmental stressors. This work generally focuses on using the “natural tag” properties of carbonate hard parts in marine and diadromous fishes to examine patterns of migration, exposure to environmental stressors, and life history dynamics of species with mobile phases.  We often couple otolith chemistry with other techniques such as tissue stable isotopes to examine food web responses.  This field has grown exponentially in the past couple of decades, yet significant unknowns remain about highly migratory or dispersive species, particularly in the marine environment.  Otolith chemistry has the potential to reveal key information about identity and movement patterns that is essential for the effective management of exploited species and ecosystems. 

We are located at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi in the Department of Life Sciences. We work closely with members of the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences, which houses an array of analytical instruments including laser ablation ICP-MS (multiple and single collectors), TIMS, and isotope ratio mass spectrometers.

Visit the page subsections for more information about our specific projects, lab members and opportunities to work in our lab.


  • We are RECRUITING for a PhD position!  Click HERE for more information.

  • Our students won awards! Apria Valenza won a 2020 Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Scholarship.  Mike Curtis won the 2020 Clark Hubbs Student Research Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.  Ethan Taulbee won a 2020 Dr. Henry Hildebrand Endowed Research Award from our University.  Congratulations all!

  • The website for our new hypoxia project is live!  Check out the Project Breathless website here.

  • We've been funded for the next phase of our hypoxia research by the National Science Foundation!  The new "Project Breathless" will expand the use of otolith chemistry to evaluate hypoxia exposure and weave in isotopes, mercury, and even eye lens analyses!  Check out the news story about our grant here.

  • We recently completed a neat collaborative project between Dr. Jeffrey Turner and our lab to couple assessments of oyster shell isotopes and pathogen assessments.  Read about it in our final report to the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program who funded this work.

  • We have a collaborative project investigating American Eel in Texas.  Check out the story here.