Anna Neuheimer awarded two-year fellowship for FutureFish project

Assistant professor of oceanography, Anna Neuheimer, has been awarded a two-year fellowship at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) at Aarhus University in Denmark.  The AIAS-COFUND Fellowships are funded by Aarhus University’s Research Foundation and the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme to bring together researchers from around the world and across disciplines to further their research in an interdisciplinary setting.  Her award is $240,000 USD, and covers salary, travel and research expenses for two years.

Neuheimer’s AIAS-COFUND Fellowship, which starts February 1, 2018, will allow her to pursue proposed work entitled: “Timing is everything: Developing a mechanistic understanding of fish timing strategies and their role as conduits of climate change (FutureFish)”.  In seasonal environments, timing is everything: energy dynamics and production are controlled by how well predators can match their prey in space and time. This is thought to be particularly true for vulnerable larval life-stages of many fish, where limited parental investment means population survival depends on how well larvae match the timing of their food. Often termed the “Match-Mismatch Hypothesis” (MMH), the dependence of production on larvae-prey match is a long-held hypothesis, but has been rarely mechanistically tested due to, for example, sampling limitations. There is an immediate need to determine the influence and extent of the MMH in shaping fish distribution and production, and how production moves through an ecosystem, now and in the future.

“Through the FutureFish project, I will respond to this need by providing new mechanistic modeling tools that describe controls on larval fish timing and how they influence the propagation of climate effects through ecosystems,” said Neuheimer.

These mechanistically based, predictive tools will allow better estimates the biological fate of physical climate signals and explore climate effects among trophic levels and across ecosystems. The FutureFish project will incorporate an interdisciplinary network both at the AIAS and through Neuheimer’s established network across Europe, North America and Hawaii to position FutureFish results within the broader context of larval biology (beyond fish), ecosystem science, climate science, biogeochemical cycling, resource management, and policy. Neuheimer will also leverage the strong, interdisciplinary group at the AIAS to encourage and advance discussions regarding computational tools to promote open, transparent, and rigorous science across disciplines.