I am an aquatic ecologist with research interests in behavioral, community, invasion ecology and fisheries. Our research largely focuses on understanding how fishes respond to both natural and anthropogenic disturbance. In particular, we like to learn about how anthropogenic disturbance (e.g., alterations of natural hydrological regimes, species invasions) alters the nature of key ecological processes, interactions and mechanisms for fishes. Our current research takes place in the Florida Everglades and aims to understand how hydroclimatic variation (both natural and human-caused) affects fishes and the recreational fisheries they support. Our research is coastal at heart and we work in a diversity of habitats, ranging from marshes, solution holes, mangroves reaches, and coastal embayments.
We like to think of the research questions we tackle across multiple ecological to, more recently, socioeeconomic scales through collaborations with resource economists and social scientists. We also like to take an individual-based ecology approach to our work (per our conceptual diag ram). Thus we always think about what individuals are doing, be it the behavior of fish or anglers, and then our research ‘scales’ up and down this diagram depending on what we are working on. Regardless of what scale we are working on, we always like to think of the implications for other scales, which keeps us going! We also like to think of the implications of our what we are learning about fish for management, conservation, and restoration efforts, and thus we have built strong partnerships with state and federal agencies, and with private foundations to ensure that our research makes a difference. Our research is part of the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER program.
We consider ourselves extremely luck to work in the Everglades! Like other subtropical ecosystems, the ecology of the Everglades is governed by a pulsed disturbance regime, and the system has been subject to intense hydrological modification, allowing us to examine how both native and nonnative fish communities respond to the interaction of natural and anthropogenic disturbances and the implications of this for the ability of coastal areas to provide key ecosystem services such as recreational fisheries. The Everglades are currently subject to the largest restoration effort attempted, which also provides us with a unique opportunity for our research to inform management decisions.
You can reach me at Rehagej@fiu.edu or my office number, (305) 348-3804
I currently teach the following courses:
Introduction to Graduate Research (co-taught with M. Ross, FIU): An introductory course to graduate studies with a strong focus on developing writing skills.
EVR4026, Biotic Resources: An upper division Environmental studies majors course that examines people-resources using an ecosystem function-services-human well-being framework.
EVR3013, Ecology of South Florida: A course for nonscience majors, offering an introduction to the ecology of South Florida & emphasizes natural resource conservation and
I currently advise 6 graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow. Here are details on the students:
Jesse Blanchard, Ph.D. Biology. Metacommunity assembly in an epheremal habitat. Expected completion: Summer 2017. 2nd prize Best PhD poster at Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society annual meeting, Ocala, FL, February 2015.
Emily Kroloff, M.S. Environmental Studies. Reconstructing the decline of bonefish in Florida Bay with angler knowledge. Co-advised with Dr. Joel Heinen. Expected completion: Fall 2016. Best MS poster at Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society annual meeting, Ocala, FL, February 2015.
Vanessa Trujillo, Ph.D. Biology. The effects of stress caused by nonnative African jewelfish: implications for invasion success & impact. Expected completion: Fall 2016. Co-advised with Dr. Phil Stoddard, FIU Biology Dept. Biology Graduate Student Association, Secretary 2012-2013. Recipient of research award from Animal Behavior Society, $ 1,200, 2014.
Ross Boucek, Ph.D. Biology. Resource use and movement of key recreational fisheries in coastal Everglades in relation to hydrology. Expected completion: Summer 2016. Cristina Menendez Fellowship, SERC, FIU, $7,500, 2012. FCE LTER supplemental funding, $ 10,000, 2012. Best student talk at FIU Biology Symposium, 2013. Student group president FCE LTER, 2013. Student president, Florida Chapter American Fisheries Society, 2013. Student representative NSF LTER network undergraduate education committee. Best student talk American Fisheries Society, Florida Chapter annual meeting, 2013. Recipient Rottman Scholarship, Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society chapter 2014. Recipient of Everglades Foundation Fellowship 2014, $10,000. President of American Fisheries Society student chapter, 2014-2015. Student representative national LTER Network, 2014-2015.
Christine Beck, M.S. Environmental Studies. Examining the threat of contaminants to bonefish in South Florida. Expected completion: Fall 2016.
Gregory Hill, M.S. Environmental Studies. Fish movement and habitat selection in response to hydrological variation. Expected completion: Fall 2016. Best MS poster at Earth & Environment Graduate Research Symposium, February 2015. Best poster Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research annual meeting, January 2015.