Abstract: The vast majority of reef fishes have a life history consisting of a pelagic larval phase of typically 20 to 60 days, followed by larval settlement where they remain through their juvenile and adult phase. It is during the pelagic larval phase that nearly all dispersal is accomplished. Understanding connectivity and dispersal pathways, as well as identifying the underlying mechanisms influencing these patterns are essential to properly understand how biodiversity is generated and maintained in the sea. The scale at which these patterns occur can illuminate evolutionary processes and can inform conservation strategies. Here, I present three case studies that investigate connectivity across various spatial scales (i.e., across ocean basins, an archipelago, the island scale) as well as how fish assemblages are distributed from shallow depths into mesophotic coral habitat.
Biography: Richard is currently a Research Associate and Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of Central Florida. In 2019 he earned his PhD in Zoology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His research interests look to investigate how diversity is generated across ecological and evolutionary timescales. Richard is also trained as a closed-circuit rebreather diver where he dives to depths as deep as 130 meters to investigate fish assemblages found in mesophotic ecosystems