My research focuses on examining the morphology of sensory systems in deep-sea fishes. I am interested in understanding how fishes living in extreme environments, like the light-limited midwaters of the deep sea, interact with their environment. By studying the morphology and functional capabilities of sensory systems, we can infer how different species behave (i.e. find food, locate mates, and avoid predators).
Yuying Zhang, PhD
Yuying Zhang is an Associate Professor at Florida International University. Yuying got her Ph.D. at the University of Maine and her research field is Fisheries Population Dynamics, which focuses on the changes in the abundance and structure of populations. Her Fisheries Ecosystem and Assessment Lab focuses on 1) developing realistic assessment models with uncertainty included, 2) analyzing alternative management strategy evaluation systems including simulation models, 3) standardizing data collection and data processing for fisheries assessment, and 4) conducting ecosystem models for the ecosystem-based stock assessment. In this project, the ecosystem models developed by Yuying’s team can be used to explore the relationships among species within the oceanic Gulf of Mexico, identifying the keystone species, studying the dynamics of communities, and understanding how the environmental changes, e.g., the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, affect pelagic and deep-sea organisms.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavioral Biology from Beloit College in 2015. Later that year, I began my master’s degree in Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University with Dr. Tracey Sutton and the DEEPEND group. There I completed a thesis focused on the diet and parasites of mesopelagic fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. Following my master’s, I began a PhD at Florida International University working under Dr. Yuying Zhang in the Fisheries and Ecosystem Assessment Lab. My dissertation is centered around developing ecosystem-based models to investigate the ecological importance of mesopelagic fauna and the ecosystem-level impacts that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill had on the system. Additionally, I am creating consumer-mediated nutrient models to learn more about active nutrient transfer in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico. I am broadly interested in ecosystem functioning and connectivity in the open ocean and the trophic structure of deep-sea food webs.
I am interested in viewing the size structuring of diel vertically migrating myctophids and how it changes between the ONSAP and DEEPEND programs to gain a better understanding of how organisms contribute to their ecosystem structure. I will look at how fish length varies in relation to various factors (e.g., depth, time of day, and year), differences in lengths between species, and any changes in size patterns over time. I am currently working on my Master’s in Marine Science under Dr. Rosanna Milligan in the Seascape Ecology Laboratory at Nova Southeastern University, having previously earned my Bachelor’s of Science in General Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
I am currently a Master of Science student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) studying the genus Cyclothone under Dr. Tracey Sutton in the Oceanic Ecology Lab. For my thesis project, I am completing an ecological assessment of Cyclothone in the Gulf of Mexico, including abundance, distribution, and species identification. Prior to attending NSU, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science from Jacksonville University where I focused on ecology and geology.