Kindsvater Lab

Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech
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Research

The Kindsvater Lab studies basic and applied questions in marine and freshwater systems, from high seas fisheries to Appalachian salamanders. Most of our research is focused on the evolution and ecology of ectotherm life histories, including growth and reproductive behavior.

Current Projects

  • Assessments of Data Deficient marine species

    Assessments of Data Deficient marine species

    Life histories and population dynamics are constrained by the fundamental principles of physiology, behavior, and species interactions. With integrated Bayesian models - "Robin Hood models", these principles can be used to model population dynamics, with information from well-studied species can be shared with Data Deficient species that have similar ancestry or ecology. With funding from NSF, we are developing life-history theory to improve population models in the absence of robust monitoring data. We are focused on clades with diverse life histories and varying numbers of data-rich and data-poor species: tunas, sharks and rays, and groupers.

  • Database curation

    Database curation

    To aid in species’ assessments, we have developed a database of life history trait information, Sharkipedia. We are expanding this database to include data on population trends over time for elasmobranchs. This project is a collaborative effort between our lab, the Global Shark Trends Project, and the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, and is supported by the Shark Conservation Fund and NSF.
    Click the globe to visit Sharkipedia.

  • Mating system dynamics and fisheries

    Mating system dynamics and fisheries

    Studies of ecological dynamics - including fisheries models - usually assume reproduction is a single parameter, regardless of variability among females and their mates. We study how social interactions and variation in mate quality affect reproduction in species with parental care, including swordtails, darters, and wrasses. We use models to understand the consequences of this variability for population dynamics.