Dr. Chip Cotton
Assistant Research Faculty
Ph.D. Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 2010
Research and Professional Interests
My research efforts are broadly applied to studies of life history and ecology for a variety of fishes. Since some of the species I study are rare or poorly described, several taxonomic investigations have naturally co-evolved with this work. Much of my recent research has focused on deep-water species, but future projects will also include studies of estuarine and marine fishes important to the ecology and economy of the Gulf of Mexico (e.g. groupers, drums, and coastal elasmobranchs). My typical research products include characterizing and quantifying life histories, taxonomic revisions, morphometric analyses, habitat delineation and determining movement patterns. These data can be incorporated into local or regional fisheries management and ecosystem-based models for a range of ecosystems.
Current research in my lab is largely concentrated on the study of fish age, growth and reproduction. Most recently, this has included the development and improvement of novel ageing techniques using dorsal finspines of deep-water chondrichthyans, as well as parameterization of life history models for these species. As a member of the Deep-C Consortium (www.deep-c.org), I am actively studying age, growth, and reproductive biology of gulper sharks (Centrophorus spp.) and dogfish sharks (Squalusspp.) inhabiting the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. I am actively involved in several biotelemetry studies, i.e. describing diel migration patterns of sixgill sharks (Hexanchus griseus) using pop-off satellite transmitters (with Dr. Grubbs) and habitat use and movement patterns of Atlantic stingray (Dasyatis sabina). I am also presently collaborating with several domestic and international collaborators (Portugal, Japan, Australia, Taiwan) on a series of taxonomic studies of gulper sharks (Family: Centrophoridae). My ongoing life history studies of deep-water sharks will necessitate future taxonomic investigations for these taxa. Lastly, I have a long-standing interest in life history and ecology of soniferous fishes (primarily Family: Sciaenidae) and marine catfishes (Family: Ariidae). Future work in my lab will include such studies of these unique species in the Florida Panhandle region.