Now open for research: The East Carolina University (ECU) Fisheries Oceanography Lab / The Asch Lab

The East Carolina University (ECU) Fisheries Oceanography Lab is now open and being run by Rebecca Asch, a Senior Nereus Fellow at Princeton University from 2013 to 2016.

The Asch Lab’s research program focuses on interactions between fisheries, plankton ecology, and climate change and climate variability. Their research approach combines fieldwork, time series analysis, and ecosystem modeling, spanning local-to-global and subseasonal-to-centennial scales.

Students in Rebecca Asch’s marine biology course conduct field work in North Carolina investigating the fish and invertebrate species that inhabit areas adjacent to salt marsh habitat.

“As a 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,” says Asch. “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.”

On-going research projects in the Asch Lab focus on the following objectives:

1. Developing and refining global models of projected changes in the phenology of plankton blooms and fish reproduction under different climate change scenarios.
2. 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.
3. 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.

Rebecca Asch is currently recruiting new Masters and Ph.D. students to join the research group for the 2018-2019 academic year. Prospective students should contact Rebecca by email (, preferably by November 15. This email should include: (1) a brief statement describing your research interests and career goals; (2) A C.V. or resume, and; (3) an unofficial academic transcript. Find out more here.

Rebecca Asch instructs an outreach session on ocean acidification as part of ECU’s Earth Day Expo.