Joshua Holbrook

Ph.D. Candidate, Clemson University

2023 Field Travel Grant Type 1

Why are isolated wetlands so fishy?

“Fish colonization to isolated wetlands and ponds is a longstanding question in ecology
and natural history, a question that has been discussed since Darwin, Wallace and before.
Three dominant hypotheses exist in the literature to explain fish colonization: facilitated colonization via birds, anthropogenic fish stocking, or landscape flooding from nearby bodies of water. However, most studies on the causes of fish colonization are geographically limited, thus I hypothesize that most fish colonization can be linked to landscape flooding events. To test this hypothesis, I will be conducting a study of the landscape correlates of fish colonization to isolated bodies of water over a wide geographic variation, as well as examining fish traits that facilitate colonization.