Species-Habitat Relationships

Understanding the ways animals respond to different habitats has been of keen academic and pragmatic interest for a long time. It remains so today as we face changing landscapes (and seascapes) where habitat is lost, altered and fragmented. Moreover, many species use a range of habitats throughout their life histories so understanding the population connectivity and energy flux among them is of great value to both advancing ecological knowledge and informing conservation and management.


Ongoing Research

Big Bend Seagrass Beds

We are currently studying how fauna associated with seagrass beds respond to habitat variables at different spatial scales. At over 3000 km2, the seagrass beds in Florida’s Big Bend region represent some of the largest in the world and provide an excellent ‘field lab’ to explore questions regarding species assembly and composition.

Functional Roles of Artificial Reefs

The provision of man-made structures such as shipwrecks, second-use concrete, and designed systems are commonly used to offset disturbances on natural reefs and enhance the production of reef fishes. Our work seeks to understand whether such goals are met and how artificial structures function to support reef fishes across different life stages.

Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Fishes on Nearshore Reefs

Many species that use seagrass and other shallow habitats as primary nurseries move to adjacent reefs as secondary nursery and stepping stone habitats en route to adult grounds. As a first step to understand the processes that drive these patterns, we are studying how populations and communities of fishes use these reefs at various spatial and temporal scales.



Stallings, C.D. and C.C. Koenig. 2011. Faunal communities of the Big Bend seagrass meadows. FWC State Wildlife Grants Initiative Final Report (Grant # 08007).

Chassignet, E., M. Bourassa, T. Miller, C. Stallings, S. Morey, R. Hughes, M. Jardak, K. Craig, F. Coleman, D. Kimbro, M. Huettel, C. Koenig, D. Dukhovskoy, J. Kostka, O. Garcia-Pineda, and J. Chanton. 2011. Impact of crude oil on coastal and ocean environments of the west Florida shelf and Big Bend region from the shoreline to the continental shelf edge. NOAA Northern Gulf Institute Final Report (10-BP_GRI_FSU-01).

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.

Stallings, C.D. 2002. The influence of habitat at several spatial scales on kelp-forest fishes. Masters thesis, San Francisco State University.