Physical-Biological Interactions Laboratory
Paris' Lab Members
The Team: from L to R: Dan Holstein, Cedric Guigand, Claire Paris, Ana Vaz, David Lindo, Andy Kough, Erica Staaterman, Matt Foretich.
Dr. Ana C. Vaz, Postdoctal Fellow
Dr. David Lindo, Postdoctal Fellow
Cedric Guigand, Senior Research Associate
Dan Holstein, (PhD Candidate)
Andrew Kough, (PhD Candidate)
Erica Staaterman, (PhD Candidate)
Matthieu Foretich, (PhD Candidate)
Atsushi Fujimora, (MS Candidate)
My primary interests are in understanding the patterns of demographic
connectivity produced by migration of the early life history stages and
how changes in the environment may affect population persistence. I
am focusing on research projects that contribute to a mechanistic
understanding of multi-scale physical-biological interactions
controlling from individual larval navigation to metapopulation
dynamics. Research in my lab cuts across disciplines and involves the
development of coupled bio-physical numerical models of larval transport
and trophic interactions, as well as of innovative observational
methods to investigate in situ larval navigation and related cues.
Prof. Claire Paris
University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149
My research efforts to date have focused on understanding the
linkages between varying ocean structures and the temporal
distribution of larval fish, tackling the coupled response of
larvae to ocean dynamics. Through this research I have contributed
to locate and monitor ocean structures (Fig X or Fig XX), and
bridge long-standing scientific controversies on the signature
of mesoscale anticyclonic eddies on larval fish distribution in
the Gulf of Mexico.
Fig 1 (Lindo-Atichati et al 2012, Mar Ecol Prog Ser)
My present interests are geared towards three key areas: defining
long-term spawning grounds and larval dispersal corridors,
addressing the extended footprint of subsea oil on marine ecosystems,
and identifying the most probable areas of pelagic accumulation
and beach landing of pollutants. This research involves the use
of observational methods based on satellite remote sensing, and
a cutting-edge Lagrangian biophysical numerical model that
encompasses data assimilation and nesting capabilities to provide
probabilistic estimates of the 3D transport of biotic and abiotic
With a background is in fish functional morphology, I have personal interests in new technologies and engineering, which allow me to understand the technical needs of biologists and propose new approaches to answer scientific questions. My main contribution to the research done in this laboratory is problem solving and design of new field sampling and lab experimental systems. I also collaborate with an engineering company (Bellamare LLC) in designing custom instruments for RSMAS researchers as well as other universities.
My dissertation research focuses on the connectivity between mesophotic and shallow coral reef ecosystems, and the physical and biological forcing that determines coral reef reproduction, development, structure, distribution, and resilience.
I do my dissertation field work in the US Virgin Islands, and utilize technical diving techniques and mixed gasses to collect samples from coral reefs as deep as 150 feet. I am using the Connectivity Modeling System to develop a coral-larval dispersal model incorporating habitat-specific parameters of coral health, density and reproduction, as well as high resolution three-dimensional hydrologic forcing. I hope that the results will further our understanding of coral reef refugia and resilience, both now and in an uncertain future.
My research at RSMAS focuses on the dispersal of spiny lobster larvae through the Caribbean. We are using the Connectivity Modeling System, combining empirical fishery and biological data with oceanographic models in a probabilistic Lagrangian framework, to describe demographic connectivity relevant to lobster fisheries management and conservation throughout the Caribbean. On a finer scale, we are investigating the navigation behaviors involved with larval settlement. The final strong swimming postlarval stage of spiny lobsters travels from the pelagic ocean to near-shore habitat, potentially covering great distances over several weeks. In the waters offshore of Miami, we are deploying lobster postlarvae within the Drifting In Situ Chamber (DISC) to examine which environmental cues may be guiding lobsters during this journey.
I have long been fascinated with understanding how physical oceanography processes affect marine life, and by extension, our own lives, especially the recreational, cultural and economical activities in which we engage. I have a broad range of research interests related to biophysical interactions, along with a particular focus on understanding the connectivity of marine organisms driven by dispersal during their early life stages. I also actively seek to apply the results of my research to pressing management issues for marine species, such as the designation of Marine Protected Areas.
My current research looks at the connectivity of several marine species between mesophotic coral habitats along the Pulley Ridge (Gulf of Mexico) and the shallow water coral habitats of the Florida Keys. We use the Connectivity Modeling System to address larval transport, combined with forefront hydrodynamic models to resolve the highly dynamic circulation of the region. Moreover, we also apply recently developed Lagrangian techniques to characterize the underlying physical mechanisms of transport. Defining key areas for connecting these rich habitats will aid the establishment of effective management measures in the region, helping increase the resilience of these environments.
I have been passionate about the ocean for as long as I can
remember. During my childhood, I developed a curiosity for marine
life while playing in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean,
at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I have been lucky enough to explore
many marine ecosystems, from the coral reefs in the South Pacific
to the kelp forests of California. Several years ago, I began to
do research in bioacoustics and became fascinated with underwater
sounds, and the ways that animals use these sounds to communicate
I am currently a PhD student in the Applied Marine Physics and
Marine Biology & Fisheries Divisions. My research focuses on
whether larval reef fish use reef soundscapes as a navigational
cue. First, I am recording sounds of a coral reef in Florida.
Then I will play back these sounds to fish to determine whether
they are attracted to these cues. Through a biophysical modeling
study, we have also examined the demographic consequences of
In addition to research, I am also passionate about science
communication and outreach through the use of film, and I am one
of the co-directors of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival. This
film festival aims to inspire and encourage scientists and marine
enthusiasts to tell their story to a broad audience, and we provide
a platform for them to do so. Our “flagship event”
takes place in March every year in conjunction with the Benthic
Ecology Meeting, but we are now hosting mini-festivals throughout
the year in various locations in the US and abroad.
Read more about my research here:
Read more about the film fest here:
I am a recent graduate of The Odum School of Ecology at The
University of Georgia and the newest student in Dr. Paris’s
biophysical lab. I am generally interested in marine ecology,
ocean resource conservation, and interdisciplinary research
methods. More specifically, I am interested in how physical
oceanographic processes and biological processes interact to
influence the dispersal and distribution of tropical marine
organisms. My research at RSMAS will aim at determining which
biological processes are most relevant throughout ontogeny of
larval fishes by investigating what spatial and temporal scales
different navigational cues (i.e. odors, sounds, sight, etc.)
significantly influence behavior and in what ways.