Title: Assistant Professor
Area of Study: Fisheries Oceanography, Global Change Biology, Earth System Modeling
Phone: (252) 328-6307
Fax: (252) 328-4178
E-mail: email@example.comOffice: S408 Howell Science Complex
Address: East Carolina University
Department of Biology
Howell Science Complex
Greenville, NC 27858
fisheries oceanographer, my career goal is to conduct research that will
advance our understanding of how climate change affects fish populations and
provide knowledge for the effective management of living marine resources. More specifically, my recent research has
focused principally on the phenology of fish reproduction. Phenology refers to the study of seasonal,
biological cycles and how they are influenced by weather and climate. In many ecosystems, warming temperatures are
causing phenological events to occur earlier in the year. However, temperature sensitivity varies
across marine organisms, such that seasonal events that previously occurred
synchronously are likely to become decoupled under climate change. In many marine ecosystems, fishes time
reproduction to coincide with plankton blooms.
Since zooplankton are the primary prey of fish larvae, greater
asynchrony between these events could lead to increased larval fish mortality,
slower growth, reduced recruitment of young fishes to fisheries, and declining
commercial and recreational catches. Research
in the Asch Lab addresses this issue by investigating historical and future
changes in phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish phenology using long-term
oceanographic time series, remote sensing, and Earth System Models.
specifically, ongoing research projects in the Asch Lab focus on the following objectives:
Developing and refining global
models of projected changes in the phenology of plankton blooms and fish
reproduction under different climate change scenarios.
Investigating how the geographic
distribution and phenology of spawning aggregations of reef fishes (e.g., groupers and snappers) will shift under future projections of climate change.
Developing a local
ichthyoplankton monitoring network in North Carolina to improve our
understanding how ecological and oceanic conditions influence the abundance,
distribution, phenology, and recruitment of economically important fishes.
research program addresses issues key to understanding climate-organismal
interactions because changes in phenology are considered one of the main
“fingerprints” of climate change effects on global ecosystems. Compared to terrestrial organisms, there has
been a dearth of research on phenological change among marine taxa, which is problematic
since some studies indicate that marine organisms are responding to climate
change by shifting their phenology more rapidly than terrestrial
organisms. Also, many of the organisms studied
by the Asch Lab are of economic interest, since ex vessel landings of commercial fisheries in North Carolina
generate nearly $100 million per year.
to the Asch Lab’s current focus on fish phenology, Dr. Asch has previously
conducted research investigating:
The influence of oceanic
variables (e.g., sea surface height,
temperature, salinity, geostrophic currents, chlorophyll concentration,
zooplankton volume) on the spawning habitat of forage fishes
The impact of bottom fishing and
fishery closures on the abundance of juvenile, demersal fishes and invertebrate
Ingestion of plastic microdebris
by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
The effect of ocean acidification
on otolith (i.e., ear bone)
development in fish larvae
Quantification of uncertainty in
future projections of climate impacts on living marine resources
All publications are available via Google Scholar and Research Gate.
Friedland, K.D., C.B. Mouw, R.G. Asch, A.S.A. Ferreira, S. Henson, K.J.W. Hyde, R.E. Morse, A.C. Thomas and D.C. Brady. 2018. Phenology and time series trends of the dominant seasonal phytoplankton bloom across global scales. Global Ecology and Biogeography doi:10.1111/geb.12717.
Asch, R.G., W.W.L. Cheung and G. Reygondeau. 2017. Future marine ecosystem
drivers, biodiversity, and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island
Nations under climate change. Marine
R.G. Asch, W.W.L. Cheung, C.P.
Paukert, R.R. Rykaczewski and W.H.H. Sauer. 2017. Editorial. Impacts of climate
change on marine and inland fishes and fisheries: looking back and moving
forward. Reviews in Fish Biology and
Fisheries 27(2): 293-296. doi:10.1007/s11160-017-9483-0.
Singh, G.G., A.M. Cisneros-Montemayor, W. Swartz, W.
Cheung, J.A. Guy, T.-A. Kenny, C.J. McOwen, R. Asch, J.L. Geffert, C.C.C. Wabnitz, R. Sumaila, Q. Hanich and Y.
Ota. 2017. A rapid assessment of co-benefits and trade-offs among sustainable
development goals. Marine Policy
D.M., R.G. Asch and R.R.
Rykaczewski. 2017. Climate, anchovy, and sardine. Annual Review in Marine Science 9: 469-493.
J.G. John, R.R. Rykaczewski, R.G. Asch,
W.W.L., Cheung, J.P. Dunne, K.D. Friedland, V.W.Y. Lam, J.L. Sarmiento and R.A.
Watson. 2017. Reconciling fisheries catch and ocean productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences 114(8): E1441-E1449. doi:10.1073/pnas.1610238114.
Tommasi, D., C.A. Stock,
A.J. Hobday, R. Methot, I.C. Kaplan, P.J. Eveson, K. Holsman, T.J. Miller, S.
Gaichas, M. Gehlen, A. Pershing, G.A. Vecchi, R. Msadek, T. Delworth, C.M.
Eakin, M.A. Haltuch, R. Séférian, C.M. Spillman, J.R. Hartog, S. Siedlecki,
J.F. Samhouri, B. Muhling, R.G. Asch, M.L. Pinsky, V.S. Saba, S.B.
Kapnick, C.F. Gaitan, R.R. Rykaczewski, M.A. Alexander, Y. Xue, K.V. Pegion, P.
Lynch, M.R. Payne, T. Kristiansen, P. Lehodey and F.E. Werner. 2017. Managing
living marine resources in a dynamic environment: the role of seasonal to
decadal climate forecasts. Progress in
Oceanography 152: 15-49. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2016.12.011.
D.J. Pilcher, S. Rivero-Calle and J.M. Holding. 2016. Demystifying models:
Answers to ten common questions that ecologists have about Earth System Models. Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin 25(3):
W.W.L., R.G. Asch, T.L. Frölicher,
G. Reygondeau, M. Jones, M.L. Pinsky, K.B. Rodgers, R.R. Rykaczewski, J.L.
Sarmiento, C. Stock and J.R. Watson. 2016. Building confidence in projections
of the responses of living marine resources to climate change. ICES Journal of Marine Science 73(5):
R.G. Asch, S. Rivero-Calle, S.M.
Heerhartz, J.M. Holding, C.T. Kremer, M. Finiguerra and K.E. Strock. 2016.
Climate is variable, but is our science? Limnology
and Oceanography Bulletin 25(3): 71-76. doi:10.1002/lob.10115.
K.D., N.R. Record, R.G. Asch, T.
Kristiansen, V.S. Saba, K. Drinkwater, S. Henson, R.T. Leaf, R.E. Morse, D.G.
Johns, S.I. Large, S.S. Hjøllo, J.A. Nye, M.A. Alexander and R. Ji. 2016.
Seasonal plankton blooms in the North Atlantic linked to the overwintering
strategies of copepods. Elementa: Science
of the Anthropocene 4:000099 doi:101.12952/journal.elementa.000099.
Asch, R.G. 2015.Climate change and decadal shifts in the phenology of larval
fishes in the California Current Ecosystem. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences 112(30): E4065-E4074.
Cheung, W., Y. Ota, W. Swartz, V. Christensen, P. Halpin, J.
Sarmiento, C. Stock, C. Folke, H. Österblom, L. Wood, C. McOwen, T. Spencer, M.
Bithell, A.O. Eferink, E. Molenaar, R.
Asch, A. Boustany, R. Caddell, A. Cisneros-Montemayor, M. Colléter, L.
Dellmuth, D. Dunn, T. Frölicher, L. Geffert, N. Henschke, K. Kearney, M. Jones,
V. Lam, M. Metian, A. Merrie, M. de Oca, M. Oyinlola, C. Petrik, G. Reygondeau,
R. Rykaczewski, P. Underwood, A. Valls and J. Watson. 2015. Predicting Future
Oceans. Climate Change, Oceans, and Fisheries. The Nippon Foundation-University
of British Columbia Nereus Program, Vancouver, BC. 24 p.
K.D., R.T. Leaf, J. Kane, D. Tommasi, R.G.
Asch, N. Rebuck, R. Ji, S.I. Large, C. Stock and V.S. Saba. 2015. Spring
bloom dynamics and zooplankton biomass response on the US Northeast Continental
Shelf. Continental Shelf Research102: 47-61.
Asch, R.G. and D.M. Checkley, Jr. 2013. Dynamic height: A key
variable for identifying the spawning habitat of small pelagic fishes. Deep-Sea Research Part I 71: 79-91.doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2012.08.006.
R. 2013. Phenology in the California Current Ecosystem: CalCOFI and
beyond. p. 211-213. In: Regional Fisheries Oceanography of the
California Current System. The CalCOFI Program. S. McClatchie. Springer, New
Davison, P. and R.G. Asch. 2011.
Plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Marine Ecology Progress Series 432:
Checkley, Jr., D.M., A.G. Dickson, M.
Takahashi, J.A. Radich, N. Eisenkolb and R. Asch. 2009. Elevated CO2
enhances otolith growth in young fish. Science
324: 1683. doi:10.1126/science.1169806.
Asch, R.G. and J.S. Collie. 2008.Changes in a benthic megafaunal community due to disturbance from
bottom fishing and the establishment of a fishery closure. Fishery Bulletin 106(4): 438-456.
Bullard, S.G., G. Lambert, M.R. Carman, J. Byrnes, R.B. Whitlatch,
G. Ruiz, R.J. Miller, L. Harris, P.C. Valentine, J.S. Collie, J. Pederson, D.C.
McNaught, A.N. Cohen, R.G. Asch, J.
Dijkstra and K. Heinonen. 2007. The colonial ascidian Didemnum sp.: current distribution, basic biology, and potential
threat to marine communities of the northeast and west coasts of North America.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology
and Ecology 342(1): 99-108. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2006.10.020.
Valentine, P.C., J.S. Collie, R.N. Reid, R.G. Asch, V.G. Guida and D.S. Blackwood. 2007. The occurrence of
the colonial ascidian Didemnum sp. on
Georges Bank gravel habitat — ecological observations and potential effects on
groundfish and scallop fisheries. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and
Ecology 342(1): 179-181.
Asch, R.G. and D.D. Turgeon. 2003. Detection of gaps in the spatial coverage
of coral reef monitoring projects in the U.S. Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Journal
of Tropical Biology 51(Supl. 4): 127-140.
D.D. and R.G. Asch. 2002. National
summary. In: The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and
Pacific Freely Associated States: 2002. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean
Science, Silver Spring, MD. 265 p.
to Marine Biology (BIOL 3660)
Ecological Dimensions of Coastal Management (BIOL
Masters and Ph.D. students: Dr. Asch is
currently recruiting new Masters and Ph.D. students to join her research group
for the 2018-2019 academic year. I seek students who are highly
self-motivated, independent, and creative thinkers that are enthusiastic about
pursuing a career in marine ecology, oceanography, and/or fisheries management. Prospective
students interested in either the ecological modeling or coastal fieldwork
aspects of my research program are welcome. A strong background in quantitative
ecology, computer programming, and/or statistics is desired, but not required. There are several areas of my current and
future research in which a Masters or Ph.D. student could become involved, but
I also encourage students to approach me with their own research ideas that
could be developed into a thesis or dissertation. Doctoral students can apply to work in my lab
either through the Coastal Resources Management (CRM) Program or the
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences (IDPBS).
Prospective students should contact Dr. Asch via
email. This email should include a brief
statement describing your research interests, a resume or C.V., and an
unofficial academic transcript.
Undergraduate Research Assistants:
Summer 2017: Joseph Alvarez
Fall 2017: Megan Fallows, Martina Plafcan,