Camrin Braun

  • Assistant Professor

Research areas

Research Areas

My research program seeks to unite biophysical interactions with the challenges of managing fisheries in a dynamic ocean. This work necessitates the use of computational, lab and field-based approaches to address the scales of organization in the marine realm (from organism to ocean basin) that drive the pelagic ecosystems we depend on. While my research is rooted in fundamental biological oceanography, I am most interested in questions that connect scientific inquiry to emerging ocean challenges. These questions are typically guided by three major themes of my work: 1) develop knowledge and tools at the interface of fish ecology and oceanography to transform our understanding of the pelagic realm; 2) quantify the mechanistic drivers of physical-biological interactions and their influence on the structure and function of open ocean ecosystems; 3) inform and enable adaptive, ecosystem-based fisheries management in a dynamic ocean.

Current projects in the lab include:

  • Connectivity between surface and deep-ocean ecosystems. Recent work points to the potential significance of mesopelagic biomass for sustaining epipelagic ecosystems. We primarily use tagged animals as “evolutionarily-informed” oceanographers to help us understand the relationship between surface and deep ocean ecosystems and how these relationships may influence ecosystem structure and function.
  • The role of (sub)mesoscale ocean physics as a structural (mechanistic) driver of pelagic ecosystems. This primarily leverages animal tag data analyzed in the context of remote sensing data and oceanographic model outputs. The feature-centric approaches I employ, combined with high-resolution oceanographic modeling efforts and 3D fish tag data, enable a robust and mechanistic assessment of how and why animals are interacting with specific oceanographic features such as fronts and eddies.
  • New technologies for studying the pelagic ocean. Current animal tag technologies are unable to accurately track fish movements and collect climate-quality oceanographic data from highly mobile species and particularly fishes. We’re working to develop new tag technologies that will enable accurate geolocation of animals at depth in the open ocean and that will collect robust oceanographic data from the most biologically-relevant places of the global ocean that may otherwise be difficult to sample and study.
  • Holistic fisheries management in a dynamic ocean. My lab’s research at the interface of ocean biology and physics enables us to contribute expertise on causal drivers of distribution and habitat use of pelagic predators. We’re currently expanding this work to a near real-time, multi-species modeling effort that will inform the next generation of climate-resilient fisheries management and address challenges specific to managing fisheries in a dynamic and changing ocean.

The above project, and many others, are a product of close collaboration with several academic, government and industry partners, including the (Sub)mesoscale Group at UW’s Applied Physics Lab, The Ocean Twilight Zone team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Conservation Ecology Lab at San Diego State University, ERD at SWFSC, the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST, and Wildlife Computers.

Prospective Graduate students:

Students in my lab usually have skills in oceanography, fish ecology, and programming. If you are interested in joining my lab, please send me an email with (1) your CV, (2) unofficial transcripts, (3) a couple of paragraphs about your research interests and career goals (non-academic is ok), and (4) a recent written example of your work. I will make decisions about incoming students during Jan-Feb of the year of admission.


Courses

Marine top predators


Expertise

  • Animal telemetry and movement ecology
  • Large pelagic fishes
  • Biological and fisheries oceanography
  • Biophysical interactions
  • Dynamic ocean management
  • Species distribution modeling

Selected publications

  • Braun C. D., P. Gaube, T. H. Sinclair-Taylor, G. B. Skomal, S. R. Thorrold. 2019. Mesoscale eddies act as conduits connecting pelagic predators to mesopelagic ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 35.

  • Queiroz, N.,…, C. D. Braun,…D. W. Sims. 2019. Global spatial risk assessment of sharks under the footprint of fisheries. Nature.

  • Braun C. D., P. Gaube, P. Afonso, J. Fontes, G. B. Skomal, S. R. Thorrold. 2019. Assimilating electronic tagging, oceanographic modeling, and fisheries data to estimate movements and connectivity of swordfish in the North Atlantic. ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsz106.

  • Arostegui M. C., P. Gaube, C. D. Braun. 2019. Movement ecology and stenothermy of satellite-tagged shortbill spearfish (Tetrapturus angustirostris). Fisheries Research 215: 21-26.

  • Braun C. D., B. Galuardi, S. R. Thorrold. 2018. HMMoce: An R package for improved geolocation of archival-tagged fishes using a hidden Markov method. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9: 1212–1220.

  • Thorrold S. R., P. Afonso, J. Fontes, C. D. Braun, G. B. Skomal, M. L. Berumen. 2014. Extreme diving behavior in devil rays links surface waters and the deep ocean. Nature Communications 5.