The UCI welcomes Christopher Haak as a postdoctoral researcher focused on fisheries science. In this role, Haak will split time working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) James J. Howard Laboratory in Sandy Hook and the Monmouth University campus.
Working with a team of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service researchers, Haak will develop habitat use models for a diverse group of commercially and ecologically important fish species across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic continental shelf. The goal of the team’s work is to predict future shifts in species distributions due to environmental change.
After an Emmy-winning career in film and television, Haak shifted gears to follow his lifelong passion for the oceans, pursuing his Ph.D. in marine science at UMass Amherst. There, his research focused on bonefish and other species occupying shallow nearshore habitats in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, which he used as a model for examining a diverse range of ecological questions.
Among these, Haak’s principal research interests comprise two areas of study: the often-overlooked effects of hydrodynamic factors, such as wave and tide-driven water movement, on the habitat use patterns and distributions of fishes; and the similarly under-appreciated role of species interactions, in particular sociality and interspecific information use, in structuring fish communities. In studying these phenomena, Haak hopes to better understand and/or predict the ways that different species and assemblages thereof will respond to a changing world.