Collaborators and I integrate data from field, laboratory, and computational sources with the goal of understanding species’ native distributions and vulnerability to anthropogenic environmental change as the interaction between taxon-specific organismal sensitivity and spatially-explicit environmental exposure.

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The sensitivity-exposure-vulnerability framework (center) for understanding diversity and distribution of species and predicting impacts of anthropogenic environmental change on biodiversity. Sensitivity and exposure are quantified using a variety of lab, field, and computational approaches (left). The framework informs conservation tools (right).

We conduct field studies which include spatiotemporally comprehensive surveys of fishes and other aquatic taxa as well as the deployment of in situ data loggers to monitor abiotic conditions (e.g., temperature) at fine temporal resolutions.

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University of Tennessee students sampling the fish community in the French Broad River near Newport, Tennessee. Photo credit: Matt Troia

Boat electrofishing with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii) on the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River. Photo credit: Matt Troia

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Greenfin darters (Etheostoma chlorobranchium) thermally acclimating in the laboratory prior to thermal tolerance assays. Photo credit: Allison Veach

We perform laboratory experiments to elucidate physiological traits including acute thermal tolerance, short-term acclimation capacity, as well as the temperature dependence of consumption, respiration, and growth.

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Thermal reaction norms showing the relationship between temperature and growth for larval longfin dace (Agosia chrysogaster), a minnow endemic to the Colorado River system. Open and filled symbols represent tributary and mainstem populations, respectively. Figure from Troia et al. (2014), Env. Biol. Fish.

We combine field and lab data with large open-source datasets and implement computational techniques—GIS mapping, statistical modeling, and bioenergetics modeling, et cetera—to produce data products for applied conservation and to test fundamental ecological hypotheses.

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Species distribution models showing high-elevation affinity of greenfin darter (Etheostoma chlorobranchium; top panel) versus low-elevation affinity of redline darter (E. rufilineatum; bottom panel) in the upper Tennessee River basin. Map by: Matt Troia

Projected growth of Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii) across it's geographic range in central Texas. Map by: Troia & Perkin

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Species distribution models showing high-elevation affinity of greenfin darter (Etheostoma chlorobranchium; top panel) versus low-elevation affinity of redline darter (E. rufilineatum; bottom panel) in the upper Tennessee River basin. Map by: Matt Troia