Jordan K Matley, PhD
St. Francis Xavier University
Growing up in Canada, nowhere near an ocean, “marine biologist” was a distant dream. What’s life without a dream though? I started my studies at the University of Guelph with Honours in Marine and Freshwater Biology. My thesis project focused on metabolic responses to low oxygen levels in hypoxia-tolerant fishes. After graduation I signed on as a research intern at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida where I worked with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program conducting fish abundance and distribution surveys. After a 3 year hiatus travelling (and timing marathons/triathlons), I started my M.Sc. degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. My research was primarily concerned with foraging of top predators (whales, seals, seabirds) in the Canadian Arctic. I determined predator diets (via stomach contents and stable isotopes), quantified interactions (seabird feeding observations) and associations (hydroacoustic surveys) with prey, and examined the general biology and diet of the main prey item – Arctic cod. After a cold Master’s degree, James Cook University and the Great Barrier Reef was a logical next step. I expanded my skills gained in North America to conduct research on coral reefs. My focus was the commercially and recreationally targeted reef fish coral trout (Plectropomus spp). I used a variety of approaches and techniques (e.g., stable isotopes, DNA gut content reconstruction, acoustic telemetry) to compare resource and habitat use between different species of coral trout with overlapping distribution. Ultimately, the goal was to provide managers with species-specific ecological information, something that is lacking. Afterwards, I joined the University of the Virgin Islands for my first postdoctoral position and the University of Windsor after that. I still collaborate with these institutions (and others such as the University of Costa Rica) conducting exciting movement and trophic ecology research in freshwater and marine ecosystems.
Currently I am an Assistant Professor at St. Francis Xavier University on the East Coast of Canada. What a great location and atmosphere to expand my teaching and research expertise! I am working with the Aquatic Resources department focusing on interdisciplinary perspectives on marine and freshwater environments.