By Sean Godwin,
2014 M.Sc. co-recipient of the Peter A. Larkin Award, M.Sc. Candidate at Simon Fraser University
I am a graduate student at Simon Fraser University under the co-supervision of Dr. John Reynolds, Dr. Larry Dill, and Dr. Martin Krkošek. My research interests fall under the umbrella of marine conservation; more specifically, I’m interested in host-pathogen dynamics of vulnerable marine fish. For my graduate research, I am evaluating how ectoparasitic sea lice influence processes that determine wild juvenile sockeye salmon survival, including competition and growth.
In the first field season of my graduate degree, I performed a competitive foraging experiment using out-migrating juvenile Fraser River sockeye and found that fish with high intensities of sea louse infection have lower competitive abilities. This past spring, I surveyed juvenile sockeye to determine whether highly infected wild-feeding fish also experience a reduction in foraging success. I am now analyzing juvenile sockeye otoliths to assess whether sea louse infection influences body growth in these fish. Cumulatively, my results will provide insight into how pathogens interact with crucial ecological processes and affect factors that determine marine fish survival.
This year, I was fortunate enough to be named one of the co-winners of the MSc-level Peter A. Larkin Award for Excellence in Fisheries at a Canadian Institution. This award is unique in that it provides national acknowledgement and monetary support for Canadian graduate students in the fisheries sciences. I am very grateful to Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of the American Fisheries Society for the recognition and for their continued support of young scientists.