Zachary T. Olsen
Graduate Research Assistant
Quantitative Fisheries Ecology Group
- M.S. Coastal Sciences, in progress
The University of Southern Mississippi
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory; Ocean Springs, Mississippi
- B.A. Biology, Chemistry (minor), 2010
Malone University; Canton, Ohio
My research involves quantifying the trophic role of Gulf Menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. I am using stable isotope analysis to examine spatial and temporal patterns in assimilated carbon and nitrogen and to trace their movement through the food chain. I am also interested in the assimilation of pollutants into the food chain and their detection at higher trophic levels using stable isotope analysis. Gulf and Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) are harvested for many industrial and agricultural products, including fish oil and fishmeal, and support the second largest commercial fishery in the nation, second only to west coast Pollock, by volume. Menhaden also play multiple roles in the ecosystem as filter feeders and as important forage fish for other larger economically important predatory fish such as Spotted Sea Trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and Bluefish (Pomotomus saltatrix). For this reason, it is important that we understand their role in the complex food web of the Gulf.
- Olsen, Z.T. 2008. “A comparison of species diversity at two differing forest edges in Carara National Park, Costa Rica: Road versus Pasture.” Malone University Research Symposium.
- Olsen, Z.T. 2009. “An assessment of nearshore species composition and abundance in the Rhode River, Chesapeake Bay.” Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Intern Research Presentation.
- Olsen, Z.T. 2010. “An assessment of nearshore species composition and abundance in the Rhode River, Chesapeake Bay.” Malone University Undergraduate Research Symposium.