Nick Parnell, Ph.D. Student

Current Research

My Ph.D. program represents a large shift in focus from my previous training and work in freshwater and marine fisheries management, but a welcome challenge and opportunity for very exciting and rewarding research. After finishing my M.S. in aquatic ecology at SUNY Brockport (NY) I worked at Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, FL) as a Senior Fisheries Biologist for almost 3 years. I worked extensively with tag-recapture methods, remote habitat characterization (sidescan sonar, echosounding, video), life history studies (age and growth), and population dynamics for commercially important fish species. I decided that I would like to use my previous experience and knowledge to further my education and prepare myself to answer more esoteric and broad questions, and I was offered a great opportunity in the Streelman lab at Georgia Tech. Now my main research interests are in the production and maintenance of biodiversity in aquatic systems and how ecological interactions and evolutionary processes promote diversity. I am working in the Malawi cichlid system to examine the components of mbuna (rock-dwelling reef fish) ecology between and within habitat sites. I am also working to determine how ecologically important characters, such as jaws and fins, interact in hybridization events and speciation. This research may shed some light on questions concerning evolution, speciation, and diversity, which are applicable across aquatic and terrestrial systems.