Mark Peterson


Mark S. Peterson, Ph.D.

Professor - Department of Coastal Sciences, Fisheries Ecology

Phone: (228) 872-4203
Fax: (228) 872-4204



Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
703 East Beach Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564

As a trained ichthyologist and fish ecologist, I have a broad interest in how fishes and other nekton (crabs, shrimp, etc.) interact with their habitat and the other organisms (plants, invertebrates, etc.) that live there in a quantitative manner and use various statistics to support these relationships.  In that vein, I am interested in how altered coastal habitat functions compared to more pristine habitat in terms of survival, growth, reproduction and habitat use patterns of fishes and other nekton in a comparative manner.  My graduate students, colleagues, and I have worked in coastal systems in fresh water through marine environments and with native, invasive and threatened species.  Current research projects include: examining the influence of environmental conditions on survival, growth and reproduction of invasive Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and predict dispersal within coastal environments; developing ecosystem-based management tools (field monitoring, GIS, modeling) to evaluate habitat use and recruitment success of spot (Leiostomus xanthurus) in the lower Pascagoula River system; evaluating the influence of altered/fragmented, partially-altered/fragmented and near-pristine salt marsh tidal creeks on diversity, community structure and food web structure of fishes using traditional and stable isotope methodology; developing food webs for oyster reef communities using traditional and stable isotope methodology; quantify life-history, development, habitat use, and habitat characterization of the state and federally-listed Species of Concern, the saltmarsh topminnow (Fundulus jenkinsi), across much if its range in the northern Gulf of Mexico; and quantifying movement and habitat use of all life stages of the federally and state threatened Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) in the Pascagoula River system and associated coastal area in Mississippi Sound with automated acoustic array systems and manual tracking.