Interdisciplinary PhD in Molecular Biosciences

Dr. Robert Fischer - Research Interests

My research approach within the fields of evolutionary biology, population ecology integrates theoretical and applied research on natural populations to answering questions concerning such topics as parental investment theory in ectotherms to determining the effects of environmental stressors on aquatic organisms.

At the present time, my research focuses on the following three specific areas:

1. Examining changes in morphology, physiology, behavior and life-history traits of bluegills and other aquatic organisms in response to environmental perturbation. This research involves both field and laboratory experiments utilizing state of the art laboratory equipment and procedures to answer questions concerning changes in body shape, performance traits, lipid cycles, reproductive cycles, metabolic rates, and age at sexual maturity in bluegills and other aquatic organisms from stressed sites,

2. Determining the effects of land-use practices on stream ecosystems. This research involves intense field analysis to answer questions related to the effects of flow regime and riparian zone changes on species diversity, species richness, biotic integrity and genetic structure of stream fish and invertebrate communities.

3. Determining the effect of invasive species on native fauna. The research focuses on answering the specific questions of determining the ability of invaders to compete with native fauna, examining differences in the response of native predators to alien and native prey, and determining whether increased native community diversity confers any resistance to invasion.

The lab is also conducting research aimed at determining the egg components and developmental process of fish and reptiles in relation to parental investment theory.