Mark S. Peterson, Ph.D.
My research goal is to create and maintain a program that addresses issues centered around nekton (fish and decapods) resource ecology and also successfully trains graduate students. My research interests are broadly focused on habitat-use in nekton, with particular emphasis on factors affecting recruitment success in estuarine-dependent fishes and the tradeoffs made by nekton when living in different habitats. In that vein, I am particularly interested in the impacts of habitat alteration on recruitment and habitat use, the basic biology and ecology of invasive species and the impacts they have on native communities, and how alteration of watersheds influence essential fish habitat of resident and estuarine-dependent species. In my research, I have emphasized important ecological issues that have some applied aspects but which requires an approach founded in basic ecological theory and has good experimental design. Much of my research has this direction. Current research projects and particular research interests are described below.
- 2012-17, Bureau of Ocean & Energy Management, Environmental Studies Program, " Abundance and distribution of commercially important estuarine dependent species populations within the Gulf of Mexico." (co-PI w/R. Hendon, M. O'Connell, S. Powers).
- 2012-14, HUD/Atkins Global, Inc., "Gulf sturgeon monitoring - Amendment 4."
- 2013-14, USACE-ERDC, “Habitat utilization of the passes on Ship Island by Gulf sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi - year 3.”
- 2010-15, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources – Coastal Impacts Assessment Program (MS.R.727), “Colonization and succession of new habitats: Implications for the success of artificial reefs.” (Co-PI w/P. Biber, K. Dillon, & C. Rakocinski).
Particular Research Interests
- Habitat characteristics and aspects of the reproductive life history of the saltmarsh topminnow, Fundulus jenkinsi, in Mississippi coastal watersheds, with the production of a comparative diagnostic key for young stages of select members of the genus Fundulus (with T. Slack). Photos and details.
- Gulf sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi, in the Pascagoula drainage, Mississippi: Post-Hurricane Katrina assessment of habitat and movement of the juvenile cohort (with W.T. Slack). [ Photos and details.
- Fundulus jenkinsi, Saltmarsh Topminnow: Conservation Planning and Implementation (with G.L. Grammer, J. Walker, M.Woodrey, R. Calderon, and D. Ruple). Fundulus jenkinsi image taken by G. Grammer. Photos and details.
- Faunal composition and food web dynamics in natural versus constructed intertidal oyster reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico: a partnership approach to sustainable restoration (with A. Stricklin, C. May, C. Mohrman, J.D. Lopez, and M. Woodrey). Photos and details.
- Ecosystem-based management – ecosystem models (with R.S. Fulford). Photos and details.
- Ecology and impact of non-native cichlid fishes and decapods in coastal marsh ecosystems (with W. T. Slack). Photos and details.