expanding the science of river ecology


Principal Investigator: Sandra Bibiana Correa

Photo by Jorge García-Melo

I am originally from Colombia (South America), where I earned a BS degree in Biology from the Universidad del Valle. Later, I graduated with a MS degree from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University. Throughout my undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral research, I devoted myself to investigate fish ecology in large tropical rivers including how seasonality and structural complexity influence habitat use, how pulses in food resource availability mediate species coexistence, and how fruit-eating fishes contribute to the seed dispersal and natural regeneration of forested wetlands.

Graduate Students

Karold Coronado (Ph. D. student)

I am from Colombia (South America), where I obtained a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the National University of Colombia, Palmira campus. Before coming to MSU, I worked in professional positions studying marine organisms and ecosystems from a spatial approach. Previous work includes studying the effect of climate change on the spatial distribution of commercial fishes in the Colombian Pacific Ocean, detecting algal blooms in the Colombian Caribbean Sea using remote sensing and GIS tools, and evaluating ecosystem health in coastal zones.

At Mississippi State University I am investigating the drivers influencing the spatial distribution of the Serrasalmidae family (pacus and piranhas) in the Amazon basin river. I am especially interested in exploring the relationship between flooded forest characteristics and environmental change with spatial aggregation patterns and diversity of frugivorous fish species. In the future, I would like to keep investigating macroecological patterns of freshwater and marine species.

Conner Owens (M.S. student)

I am originally from Richmond, Virginia, and obtained my BS degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from West Virginia University. After graduation, I worked as a seasonal technician for Trout Unlimited in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. Throughout my undergraduate and technician research, I focused on the restoration of brook trout and other coldwater fish species.

At Mississippi State University, I am studying the influences of bottomland hardwood forests on aquatic food webs in the Pascagoula River, Mississippi. I have the opportunity to research how aquatic food web structure changes over time and space in an extremely unique and dynamic river-floodplain system. Using fish stomach content and stable isotopes I can establish trophic linkages and positions and determine the primary producer of the aquatic food web. After graduation, I hope to continue sampling fish assemblages in unique environments and studying the fascinating world of aquatic ecology!

Undergraduate Students

Austin Reese

I am originally from Birmingham, AL. I am currently a forestry major at Mississippi State University and am expected to graduate in the summer 2021. 

I started working with Dr. Sandra Correa and Dr. Joshua Granger in the fall of 2019 on two projects. During the 2019-2020 academic year, I helped to determine the age of tree cores taken from floodplain forest sites along the Pascagoula River, Mississippi. I was able to present the findings from the research at an undergraduate symposium last Spring. This year I am working on a different project that focuses on the relationship between mosses grown on trees in flooded forests and fish. 

I am conducting this research at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge near the MSU campus and collecting data through tree core sampling, moss sampling, and other measurements. I plan to take the skills and lessons learned in these research projects into the work field after graduation. I plan to work in the utility side of forestry. 

Nick Stewart

I am originally from Moss Point, Mississippi, and am in the process of obtaining a BS degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture from Mississippi State University with an expected graduation date of Spring 2021.  

At Mississippi State I led an undergraduate research project, with Dr. Correa’s guidance, looking at potential changes in fish distributions along local coastal rivers driven by sea level rise.  This project used survey data of Local Ecological Knowledge from fishermen and anglers to assess change.  In addition, I participated in field research assisting graduate student Conner Owens sampling fishes with different gear types, identifying and handling fish, and collecting water quality measurements. 

I am currently estimating the age of bowfin fish using hard structures such as the gular plate and pectoral fin rays.

Bowfin fish is an ancient predatory fish species abundant in floodplain forests. The goal of my research is to understand how long does this species persist in flooded forest ecosystems and thereby their influence on food webs. I hope to continue working in fisheries after graduation and potentially going to graduate school.

Ian Hurts

Former Lab Members

Lucelia Nobre-Carvalho (Post-doctoral Scholar)

I am originally from Brazil where I am an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Mato Grosso and coordinate the Tropical Ichthyology Laboratory (www.litufmtsinop.com). I earned a BS degree in Biology a Ph.D. degree in Biology of Freshwaters and Continental Fisheries, both from the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia. My research focusses on investigating interactions between fishes and abiotic environmental factors using descriptive, comparative, and experimental approaches. 

Topics of interest include fish behavior, fish-forest interactions, and the effects of parasites on fish behavior. Our work is strongly field-oriented, with studies conducted in streams and rivers of the Tapajos Basin, within the Amazon region. 

At Mississippi State University, I worked on analyzing a large dataset from the Teles Pires River, focusing on fish-forest interactions and seed dispersal by fish.

Prospective Students

Graduate Students that join the Correa Lab are either funded by a specific project, and hired as Graduate Research Assistants, or bring their own funding to develop research of their interest. If you are interested in joining our lab, contact Dr. Correa (sbc257@msstate.edu) for current funding opportunities and venues to apply for external scholarships.