larval fish collage

Research in my lab centers on the ecology and life history of fishes, particularly the early life history of fishes. We have worked extensively on the biological and physical oceanographic processes affecting the retention and transport of larval fishes, in terms of examining larval dynamics, population replenishment, and connectivity. Our research also includes specific aspects of the ecology of larval fishes including vertical migration, growth, survival, and feeding. Besides larval ecology, I have worked on the reproductive and population biology of hermaphroditic (sex-changing) fishes, as well as community ecology of kelp bed systems.


Several years ago we developed new ichthyoplankton sampling technology (DPI, formerly known as ISIIS; see image right) to quantify the fine-scale distributions and dynamics of plankton. This is proving to be an exciting way to peer into the black box of larval fish ecology as well as to engage the public in citizen science outreach and engagement resource. Our research projects are conducted on both reef-related and pelagic species throughout the Caribbean, along the East Coast of the US, California, and Mexico.

For a current copy of Bob Cowen’s CV, please contact him.

Phone: 541-867-0211