Demography and Dynamics

Most of the questions we address, including those pertaining to both species-habitat relationships and species interactions, ultimately seek to understand the patterns of population and community dynamics and the processes that drive them. As with the other research themes in our lab, we tackle applied topics while also taking advantage of model systems to address this research theme.


Ongoing Research

Assessment of Methodology & Innovative Approaches

Fisheries scientists use a variety of data to inform stock assessment, including fishery-dependent and fishery-independent sources. In collaboration with scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and commercial fisherman, we have begun research that seeks to reconcile the different types of data to improve accuracy and stakeholder buy-in. Moreover, our efforts seek to understand how different fishery-independent methods can affect the perceived status of populations.

Population Status of the Endangered Goliath Grouper

Able to reach sizes over 2m in length and 450kg in mass, the goliath grouper is the largest of the North Atlantic serranids. It is also highly vulnerable to overfishing and is currently listed as ‘critically endangered’ by the IUCN. However, its population is showing encouraging signs that it is beginning to recover in Florida after over 20 years of a federal moratorium. In collaboration with researchers at Florida State University and the University of Florida, we are working with fishermen throughout the state to estimate the size and age structure of the goliath grouper population using non-lethal methods.



Hixon, M.A., T.W. Anderson, K.L. Buch, D.W. Johnson, J.N. McLeod, and C.D. Stallings*. In Press. Recruitment, density dependence, and population regulation in marine fish: a large-scale, long-term field manipulation. Ecological Monographs.

Stallings, C.D., F.C. Coleman, C.C. Koenig, and D.A. Markiewicz. 2010. Energy allocation in juveniles of a warm-temperate reef fish. Environmental Biology of Fishes 88: 389-398

Christie, M.R., D.W. Johnson, C.D. Stallings, and M.A. Hixon. 2009. Self recruitment and sweepstakes reproduction amid extensive gene flow in a coral-reef fish. Molecular Ecology 19: 1042-1057.

Stallings, C.D. 2009. Fishery-independent data reveal negative effect of human population density on Caribbean predatory fish communities. PLoS One 4(5): e5333.