My research program is diverse, but the overarching theme involves using the movements of animals to assess the significance that individual behaviour has for the biology of populations and communities and, ultimately, biodiversity. In one main component, my students are using studies at the assemblage, population, and individual levels to examine changes in the biodiversity of stream fishes caused by in-stream barriers used to control sea lamprey in the Laurentian Great Lakes, the role of restrictions on movement in bringing about these changes, and methods of minimizing any change (e.g. improved trapping of sea lamprey and passage of other fishes). My position and this research are supported by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to increase its science capacity.

In a second main component, my students are using smaller scale approaches focused on diversification in the foraging and migratory movements of brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) to understand the role that individual differences in behaviour have in facilitating population divergence in physiology, morphology, and life history (resource polymorphism), and the creation of new biodiversity.

My research program has two, additional minor components. Several students have been and continue to conduct studies assessing the effects of agricultural practices on stream fishes. I, and now my students, also continue to examine basic research questions related to animal movement. Differences in the nature, approach, and subject matter of these components creates a unique and interesting combination of research opportunities that is rich biologically and intellectually, and creates a productive synergy in terms of addressing the overarching theme of my program.

Rob’s University of Guelph page: