The fish doctor is in: meet our new ichthyology profressor, Dr. Scott Hamilton

Dr. Scott Hamilton

Dr. Scott Hamilton will be joining the Moss Landing Marine Labs faculty in Spring 2011 as the new Ichthyologist.  Currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara, Scott has participated in a variety of exciting research projects. He gave us a chance to ask a few questions about his current work, and his future plans.  Keep reading to find out what we learned. (Interview by Brynn Hooton).

Q:  Scott, how did you get your start as an ichthyologist?

A:  My interest in the world of ichthyology began when I was kid and tried to read every book I could find about sharks. However, my first research project started during college. Through a tropical field studies program in Panama, we examined the ability of large roving parrotfish schools (important grazers on coral reefs) to circumvent the defenses of territorial damselfish and gain access to their algal gardens.

Scott's first fish love was all things shark, like this Blacktip reef shark at the Palmyra atoll. (photo: S. Hamilton)

His first research involved studying coral reef fishes. (photo: S. Hamilton)

Q: What is the one thing about MLML that you are most looking forward to?

A:  At Moss Landing I am most looking forward to working closely with students to develop exciting research projects that will get us diving in the beautiful kelp forests around Monterey Bay

Scott is looking forward to continuing kelp forest research here in Monterey Bay. (photo: Scott Hamilton)

A colorful garibaldi in the kelp forests of Catalina Island. (photo: Scott Hamilton)

Q:  Anything new with your research that you would like to share?

A:  We just started a new research project examining differences in reproductive behaviors and mating success of California sheephead inside and outside of marine reserves at Catalina Island. Unfortunately, this summer the waters have been unseasonably cold due to strong La Nina conditions and the fish were not courting or mating at any of our sites. So, we shifted gears and instead conducted experiments to examine size-selective foraging of sheephead on sea urchins and differences in predation rates inside and outside of reserves. There was a strong lesson here that sometimes there are factors outside of your control that affect research. We also overlapped on this trip with Diana Stellar and a number of students from Moss Landing, which provided for endless good times.

California Sheephead feed on urchins during a predation experiment. (photo: Scott Hamilton)

Q:   When do you plan to relocate?

A:  My wife and I are hoping to move to Monterey sometime around December and look forward to becoming integrated in the Moss Landing community.

That’s all from Scott for now, but check back during the spring semester to find out about all of the new adventures he’s having at Moss Landing Marine Labs.

Welcome to the MLML family, Scott! We're looking forward to hainvg you join us. (photo: S. Hamilton)

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