Our lab maintains a broad interest in all aspects of aquatic
ecology, conservation biology, physiological ecology, animal
behaviour and environmental science. Our research efforts
primarily focus on freshwater and marine fish.
Specific interests include (1) determining the energetic,
fitness, and potential evolutionary consequences of a variety
of natural (e.g., winter, reproduction) and anthropogenic
(e.g., angling, environmental pollution) stressors and,
(2) understanding the diversity of energetic, physiological,
and behavioural responses of fish to stress at the individual,
population, and species level. We then apply the fundamental
knowledge derived from these basic research activities to
aid in the conservation and management of aquatic resources.
Of late, we have been involved with defining the new discipline
physiology” – a field dedicated to understanding
the mechanisms underlying conservation problems. Because
our work is heavily based in the field, we rely on technologies
including underwater videography and telemetry to monitor
free-swimming fish in the wild.
Our current and prospective research activities focus on
three specific study systems that enable us to test hypotheses
associated with our research programme and to address applied
issues in fish ecology. Our work is currently focused on
temperate centrarchid fishes (the sunfish) in Midwestern
North America, the Pacific salmonids of British Columbia,
and flats and mangrove communities of the Caribbean. Although
these systems are all rather disparate in geography, there
are common problems and challenges experienced by fish in
these very different environments. Specific research projects
currently underway include assessment of the compatibility
of catch-and-release angling
with marine protected areas, evaluation of the physiological
correlates of reproduction and fitness in centrarchids and
salmonids, and understanding the factors influencing the
spatial ecology and demography of fish.
The lab's activities and ongoing research is led by Dr.
Steven Cooke. Currently, our team consists of
24 members: Prof. Cooke, 3 post-docs, 1 lab manager/biologist, 16 graduate students, and 3 undergraduate thesis students.