Why fish early life history stages maximize reproductive success
Fish exhibit the most diverse reproductive modes of all vertebrates, but our typical picture is that of many small and fragile offspring cast off to live or die at the vagaries of the open sea.
This view ignores the many adaptations that we see in the egg and larval stages of fish. Individual variability is expressed in rates of growth and development, in behaviour, and even in learning.
Laboratory and field experiments, as well as modelling studies, reveal a complex interplay between biological and physical processes that continue to confound our efforts to reach the “Holy Grail” - a single predictor of year-class strength.
Professor Audrey Geffen started as an undergraduate in the School of Natural Resources at University of Michigan fully expecting to transfer into the music school after the first semester. That never happened, because she got hooked on biology and marine ecology – and hasn’t really looked back since.
After completing her BSc she worked in aquaculture research in Israel for three years, which led to a PhD working with fish larvae in Scotland. She has studied larval and juvenile stages of fish in Lake Michigan, New England, the Irish Sea, North Sea, and the wider north Atlantic – in the lab and in the field. In 2003 she became a professor in the Department of Biological Science at University of Bergen, and in 2018 took a four-year break to concentrate on undergraduate teaching and curriculum development at Imperial College London. She also works with fish otoliths.