FIU students descend on Aquarius

Mark Barton

Growing up in the Netherlands, Mark Barton’s love of fishing and marine biology came from frequent vacations to the Sunshine State.

During this week’s Aquarius mission, Barton is using multi-beam high resolution imaging sonars to look at prey fish behavior in the presence of predators. Using full scale fiberglass models of black grouper and barracuda, which can be seen through the UStream feed, he is observing prey fish at different times of day to identify different predator avoidance strategies.

After earning a bachelor of marine science at Florida Gulf Coast and completing an internship with Florida Fish and Wildlife, Barton joined professor Kevin Boswell’s lab at FIU in fall 2012. The lab specializes in the application of novel sonar technology to record fish behavior and distribution.

For his dissertation, Barton is also researching the effects of declining sea ice coverage in nearshore habitats in Artic fishes in Alaska. His research aims to establish a baseline to document changes in the Artic nearshore in the face of climate change.

– By Jamie Giller

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