Robert K. Cowen

Robert K. Cowen

Professor Emeritus, Marine Biology & Fisheries

University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149

Tel: 305.984.9309

Lab Website

Google Scholar Profile

Larval fish ecology, fisheries oceanography, ichthyology.

My research centers on the ecology and life history of fishes, particularly the early life history of fishes. I have worked extensively on the biological and physical oceanographic processes affecting the retention and transport of larval fishes, in terms of examining larval dynamics, population replenishment and connectivity. My research also includes specific aspects of the ecology of larval fishes including vertical migration, growth, survival, and feeding. Besides larval ecology, I have worked on the reproductive and population biology of hermaphroditic (sex-changing) fishes, as well as community ecology of kelp bed systems. Recently I have been studying the role of juvenile habitat in the recruitment of fishes, population connectivity in marine fishes, and early life history dynamics of billfish. My research has been conducted on both reef-related and pelagic species throughout the Caribbean, along the East Coast of the US, California and Mexico.

Cowen, R.K., and S. Sponaugle. 2009. Larval dispersal and marine population connectivity. Annual Reviews in Marine Science 1:443-466.

Llopiz, J.K. and R.K. Cowen. 2009. Variability in the trophic role of larval coral reef fishes in the oceanic plankton. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 381:259-272.

Purcell, J.F.H., R.K. Cowen, C.R. Hughes, D.A. Williams. 2009. Population structure in a common Caribbean coral reef fish: implications for larval dispersal and early life history traits. J. Fish Biol. 74:403-417

Llopiz, J.K. and R.K. Cowen. 2008.  Precocious, selective and successful feeding of larval billfishes in the oceanic Straits of Florida. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 358: 231–244.

Cowen, R.K. and C. M. Guigand. 2008. In situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS): system design and preliminary results. Limnology and Oceanography Methods 6: 126-132.

Hitchcock, G.L., Arnold, W.S., Frischer, M., Kelble, C., Cowen, R.K. 2008. Short-term dispersal of an intentionally-released patch of larval Mercenaria Spp. in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA. Bull. Mar. Sci. 82:41-57.

Tsechpenakis, G., C.M. Guigand, and R.K. Cowen. 2007. Image analysis techniques to accompany a new In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System. IEEE OCEANS 2007, Aberdeen, Scotland, June 2007.

Cowen, R.K., G. Gawarkiewicz, J. Pineda, S.R. Thorrold, F.E. Werner. 2007. Population connectivity in marine systems: An Overview. Oceanography 20(3):14-21.

Werner, F.E., R.K. Cowen, C. Paris. 2007. Coupled biological and physical models: Present capabilities and necessary developments for future studies of population connectivity. Oceanography 20(3): 54-69.

Paris C.B., L.M. Chérubin, R.K. Cowen. 2007. Surfing, spinning, or diving from reef to reef: how does it change population connectivity? Marine Ecology Progress Series 347:285-300.

Hitchcock, G.L. and R.K. Cowen.  2007. "Plankton: the original Lagrangian platforms" pp 349–400, In Lagrangian Analysis and Prediction of Coastal and Ocean Dynamics, A. Griffa, A.D. Kirwin, A.J. Mariano, T. …zgškmen, T. Rossby (Eds.) Cambridge Univ. Press.

Cowen, R.K., C.B. Paris, A. Srinivasan. 2006. Scaling of connectivity in marine populations. Science. 311:522-527

Richardson, D.E., J.D.VanWye, A.M. Exum, R.K. Cowen, D.L. Crawford. 2006. High- throughput species identification: from DNA isolation to bioinformatics. Molecular Ecology Notes doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2006.01620.x

Sullivan, M.C., R.K. Cowen , K.W. Able , M.P. Fahay. 2006. Applying the basin model: Assessing habitat suitability of young-of-the-year demersal fishes on the New York Bight continental shelf. Cont. Shelf Res. 26:1551-1570.

Ramos, S., R.K. Cowen, C.B. Paris, P. Ré, A.A. Bordalo. 2006. Environmental forcing and larval fish assemblage dynamics in the Lima River estuary (NW Portugal). J. Pl. Res. 28 (3): 275-286

Paddack, M.L., S. Sponaugle, R.K. Cowen. 2006. Grazing pressure of herbivorous coral reef fishes on low coral-cover reefs. Coral Reefs. 25:461-472.

Purcell, JFH, RK Cowen, CR Hughes, DA Willams. 2006. Weak genetic structure indicates strong dispersal limits: a tale of two coral reef fish. Proc. Royal Society B. 273, 1483–1490

Ramos, S., R.K. Cowen, P.Ré, A.A. Bordalo. 2006. Temporal and spatial distribution of larval fish assemblages in the Lima estuary (Portugal). Estuar. Coast. Shelf. Sci. 66:303-314

Sullivan, M.C., R.K. Cowen, and B.P. Steves. 2005.  Evidence for atmosphere-ocean forcing of yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) recruitment in the Middle Atlantic Bight. Fisheries Oceanography. 14:386-399.

Luthy, S.A., R.K. Cowen, J.E. Serafy, J.R. McDowell. 2005. Toward identification of larval sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus), white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) in the western North Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Fishery Bulletin 103:574-587.

Prince, E.D., R.K. Cowen, E.S. Orbesen, S.A. Luthy, J.K. Llopiz and D.E. Richardson. J.E. Serafy. 2005. Movements of spawning of white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. U.S. Fishery Bulletin 103:659-669.

Luthy, SA.,J.E. Serafy,R.K. Cowen,K.L. Denit, S. Sponaugle. 2005. Age and growth of  larval Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus. Marine and Freshwater Res. 56:1–9

Paris, C.B., R.K. Cowen, R.C., R. Claro, K.C. Lindeman. 2005. Larval transport pathways from Cuban Snapper (Lutjanidae) spawning aggregations based on biophysical modeling. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 296: 93-106.

Sponaugle, S, KL Denit, SA Luthy, JE Serafy, and RK Cowen. 2005. Growth variation in larval blue marlin, Makaira nigricans. J. Fish Biology. 66: 822-835.

Sale, PF, RK Cowen, BS Danilowicz, GP Jones, JP Kritzer,  KC Lindeman, S Planes, NVC Polunin, GR Russ, YJ Sadovy and RS Steneck, 2005,   Critical science gaps impede use of no-take fishery reserves.  Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (2): 74-80.

Guigand CM, R.K. Cowen, J.K. Llopiz, D. Richardson, 2005. A coupled asymmetrical multiple opening closing net with environmental sampling system. Mar. Tech Soc. J. 39:22-24.

Richardson, D. and R.K. Cowen. 2004. New leptocephali types collected around the island of Barbados (West Indies). Copeia. 2004(4):288-295.

Paris CB and Cowen RK 2004.  Direct evidence of a biophysical retention mechanism for coral reef fish larvae. Limnol. Oceanogr. 49: 1964-1979.

Richardson, D. and R.K. Cowen. – 2004. Diversity of leptocephalus larvae around the island of Barbados: relevance to regional distributions. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 282:271-284.

Cowen, R.K., S. Sponaugle, C. B. Paris, K.M.M. Lwiza, J.L. Fortuna and S. Dorsey. 2003. Impact of North Brazil Current rings on local circulation and coral reef fish recruitment toBarbados , West Indies . Pages 443-462 In: G.J. Goni and P.M. Rizzoli, eds., Interhemispheric water exchange in the Atlantic Ocean. Elsevier, Amsterdam

Cowen, R.K., C.B. Paris, D.B. Olson, and J.L. Fortuna. 2003. The role of long-distance dispersalversus local retention in replenishing marine populations. J. Gulf Carib. Sci. 14:129-137.

Cowen, R.K., S. Thorrold, J. Pineda, G. Gawarkiewicz, and F. Werner. 2003. Workshop Held to Discuss Population Connectivity in Marine Systems, EOS 84(13):119.

Sullivan, M.C., Cowen, R.K., Able, K.W., Fahay, M.P.2003.  Effects of scallop dredging on arecently settled continental shelf flatfish. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 260:237-253.

Serafy, J.E., R.K. Cowen, C.B. Paris, T.R. Capo, S.A. Luthy. 2003. Evidence of blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, spawning in the vicinity of Exuma Sound, Bahamas. Mar. Freshwater  Res. 54:1-8.

Hare, J.A., J.H. Churchill, R.K. Cowen, T.J. Berger, P.C. Cornillon, P. Gragos, S.M. Glenn, J.J. Govoni, and T.N. Lee. 2002. Routes and rates of larval fish transport from the southeast to the northeast United States continental shelf. Limnol. Oceanogr. 47:1774-1789.

Paris, C.B., R.K. Cowen, K.M.M. Lwiza, D.-P. Wang, D.B. Olson. 2002. Multivariate objective analysis of the coastal circulation of Barbados, West Indies: implication for larval transport. Deep-Sea Res. I 49:1363-1386.

Sponaugle, S., R.K. Cowen, A Shanks, SG Morgan, JM Leis, J Pineda, GW Boehlert, MJ Kingsford, K Lindeman, C Grimes, JL Munro 2002. Predicting self-recruitment in marine populations: Biophysical correlates and mechanisms. Bull. Mar. Sci. 70(1):341-375.

Warner, R.R. and R.K. Cowen. 2002. Local retention of production in marine populations: Evidence, mechanisms, and consequences. Bull. Mar. Sci. 70(1) Suppl. 245-249.

Cowen, R.K. 2002. Larval dispersal and retention and consequences for population connectivity. pp. 149-170, in P.F. Sale: “Ecology of Coral Reef fishes: Recent Advances” Academic Press.

Grothues, T. M., R.K. Cowen, L.J. Pietrafesa, F. Bignami, G.J. Weatherly, and C.N. Flagg. 2002. Flux of larval fish around Cape Hatteras. Limnol. Oceanogr. 47: 165-175.

Hare, J.A., M.P. Fahay, and R.K. Cowen. 2001. Springtime ichthyoplankton of the slope region off the north-eastern United States of America: larval assemblages, relation to hydrography and implications for larval transport. Fish. Oceanogr. 10:164-192.

Cowen, R.K., K.M.M. Lwiza, S. Sponaugle, C. Paris, D. Olson. 2000. Connectivity of marine populations: Open or Closed? Science 287:857-859.

Sullivan, M.C., Cowen, R.K., Able, K.W., Fahay, M.P. 2000. Spatial scaling of recruitment in four continental shelf fishes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 207:141-154.

Steves, B.P., and R.K. Cowen. 2000. Settlement, growth, and movement of silver hake, Merluccius bilinearis, in nursery habitat on the New York Bight continental shelf. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 196:2171-290.

Kelly, P., K.M.M. Lwiza, R.K. Cowen and G. Goni. 2000. Low-salinity lenses at Barbados, West Indies: Their origin, frequency and variability. J. Geophys. Res. 105, 19,699-19,708.

Steves, B.P., R.K. Cowen and M. Malchoff. 2000. Settlement and nursery habitat for demersal fishes on the continental shelf of the New York Bight. U.S. Fish. Bull. 98(1):167-188.

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