Andria Kay Salas

Andria  Kay Salas

Andria Kay Salas

Ph.D. candidate, Integrative Biology, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

I attended Grand Valley State University in Michigan, my home state, to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in aquatic sciences. While there, I conducted two research projects, one investigating the diel movements and habitat use of juvenile fish in a Michigan tributary and the other exploring the effects of habitat degradation on the diets of juvenile fish and blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay.  Following my passion for marine systems, I attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for my Masters in Marine Science. During this time, I had the opportunity to add ecological modeling experience to my laboratory and field skill sets through conducting research on the influence of indirect effects in trophic and evolutionary networks.

Now, in my doctoral research, I have come full circle in my higher education by pursuing again research on the life histories of the early life stages of fishes. I am exploring how the “soundscape” produced by organisms living on coral reefs – fish vocalizations, shrimp snaps, urchins rasping as they feed – may aid larval fishes in locating a reef on which to settle at the end of their pelagic stage. I have been fortunate to be able to collaborate with Dr. Preston Wilson, an underwater acoustician in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UT, on the acoustics necessary to address these questions that are truly best served using a multi-disciplinary approach. I conduct my research in Bocas del Toro, Panama through the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Using a combination of field recordings, acoustic modelling, individual-based models, and fish behavior experiments I hope to improve our understanding of how coral reef soundscapes may influence reef fish populations.

I anticipate continuing research in the field of larval fish ecology after my time at UT is complete. In particular, I am most energized by research that benefits from the union of varied approaches and disciplines and addressing questions that can improve the relationship between coastal habitats and human interests.


Keitt TH, Addis C, Mitchell D, Salas A, Hawkes CV. Climate change, microbes, and soil carbon cycling. In: Marxsen J, Liebig J Climate Change and Microbial Ecology: Current and Future Trends. Norwich, UK: Caister Academic Press; 2016. pp. 220.

Salas, A.K. and S.B. Borrett.  2011. Evidence for the dominance of indirect effects in 50 trophically-based ecosystem networks.  Ecological Modelling: 222: 1192−1204.

 Borrett, S.R, M.A. Freeze, and A.K. Salas. 2011. Equivalence of the realized input and output oriented indirect effects metric. Ecological Modelling. 222: 2142−2148.

Borrett, S.B. and A.K. Salas. 2010. Evidence for resource homogenization in 50 trophic ecosystem networks.  Ecological Modelling 221: 1710−1716. 

Salas A.K. and E.B. Snyder.  2010.  Diel fish habitat selection in a tributary stream.  American Midland Naturalist 163: 33-43.