Lee A. Fuiman
Associate Director for Fisheries and Mariculture
Professor, Department of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences, Section of Integrative Biology
Perry R. Bass Chair in Fisheries and Mariculture
Behavioral Ecology, Developmental Ecology, Fisheries, and Mariculture
Behavior, sensory ecology, morphology, and physiology of fish larvae and marine mammals; Larval fish culture, broodstock management.
The past few decades have seen the biology of fish larvae blossom into an exciting field of research. These tiny, usually transparent early life stages had been neglected because of the difficulties in collecting, identifying, and maintaining them. With many of these problems solved, research is directed toward understanding how processes affecting larval fishes have serious consequences for populations of adults. Survival of larvae is a prerequisite for sustained populations, and like adults, larvae must find food and avoid predators. However, unlike adults, they must do so while their abilities vary due to dramatic morphological, physiological, and behavioral changes caused by development.
Our research includes both laboratory and field experiments on the behavioral and sensory capabilities of fish larvae. Much of it involves frame-by-frame motion analysis of video taped experiments. This approach has led to important insights into the change in vulnerability of larvae to predators during early life. We combine the behavioral approach with detailed studies of changing sensory and locomotor morphology to understand how behavior may be constrained. We also study the effects of environmental variables (e.g., temperature and salinity) on a larva's capabilities. We incorporate field experiments to form ecological interpretations for the laboratory results. Our research has now expanded to include assessment of sublethal effects of pollutants and their ecological interpretation.
Nakayama, S., A.F. Ojanguren, and L.A. Fuiman. 2011. Process-based approach reveals directional effects of environmental factors on movement between habitats. Journal of Animal Ecology 80: 1299-1304
Fuiman, L.A., and A.F. Ojanguren. 2011. Fatty acid content of eggs determines antipredator performance of fish larvae. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 407:155-165.
McCarthy, I.D., and L.A. Fuiman. 2011. Post-prandial changes in protein synthesis in red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) larvae. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:1821-1828.
Ojanguren, A.F. and L.A. Fuiman. 2010. Seasonal variability in antipredator performance of red drum larvae. Marine Ecology Progress Series 413:117-123.
Fuiman, L.A., M.G. Meekan, and M.I. McCormick. 2010. Maladaptive behavior reinforces a recruitment bottleneck in newly settled fishes. Oecologia 164:99-108.
Nakayama, S. and L.A. Fuiman. 2010. Body size and vigilance mediate asymmetric interference competition for food in fish larvae. Behavioral Ecology 21:708-713. (doi: 10.1093/beheco/arq043)
Foster, C.R., A.F. Amos, L.A. Fuiman. 2010. Phenology of six migratory coastal birds in relation to climate change. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122:116-125.
Foster, C.R., A.F. Amos, and L.A. Fuiman. 2009. Trends in abundance of coastal birds and human activity on a Texas barrier island over three decades. Estuaries and Coasts 32:1079-1089. (doi: 10.1007/s12237-009-9224-2)
Faria, A.M., A.F. Ojanguren, L.A. Fuiman, and E.J. Gonçalves. 2009. Ontogeny of critical swimming speed of wild-caught and laboratory-reared red drum larvae (Sciaenops ocellatus). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 384:221-230
Nakayama, S., A.F. Ojanguren, L.A. Fuiman. 2009. To fight, or not to fight: Determinants and consequences of social behaviour in young red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). Behaviour 146:815-830.
click image for larger view
The early life of fish larvae is characterized by a variety of changes in body structure and physiological and behavioral capabilities. This depiction of the development of red drum shows some of the changes that take place in this species. Most of this information is from research conducted at our institute.