Statement of purpose:
As I pursue my PhD, I aim to address the needs of local communities, natural resource agencies, and other decision makers to better manage and sustainably use natural resources, in particular freshwater fish, in a changing environment. I’ve experienced firsthand the use of science to inform international policy decisions, biodiversity targets, and goals, and how conducting research in a holistic, interdisciplinary manner taking into account not only the resources but users, managers, industry, and government priorities is vital to developing and implementing research that will be useful to policy, management, and local governments.
Description of research:
My research interests are always evolving, but my main focus is in addressing multi-disciplinary, stakeholder-driven questions with a focus on the impacts of climate change to habitats, biodiversity, fisheries, and the associated ecosystem services (e.g., food security, income generation) to inform adaptive management or policy development. I’m especially interested in the importance of freshwater fish in both developing and developed countries. My current project is addressing the impacts of extreme events on fish biotic resistance and resilience in Caribbean freshwater ecosystems. My work will take place in Puerto Rico working with managers to address research questions related to global change with a focus on extreme events and impacts to freshwater fish assemblage dynamics. My PhD research will determine changes in stream and river fish assemblages over time at multiple temporal scales, examine fish assemblages and fisheries dynamics in relation to biotic resistance from exotic species invasions while relating changes to landscape and climate influences, project changes in fish assemblages in the future, and determine the impacts on the community and stakeholders. I plan to work with managers throughout the project to address regional managers’ needs and to help guide strategic planning and adaptation efforts. This work will provide clearer understanding of the impacts of extreme climate events on natural resources to help managers develop efficient adaptation strategies and allocate resources appropriately. This research aligns with DOI Priorities 1. Creating a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt, 3. Restoring trust with local communities, and 4. Ensuring sovereignty means something.