Peter J. Auster, Ph.D.


Peter J. Auster, Ph.D.


Peter Auster is a research emeritus professor in the University of Connecticut Department of Marine Sciences and has a joint appointment as a senior research scientist at Mystic Aquarium, a division of the Sea Research Foundation. His research focuses on the ecology and conservation of fishes. With his Pew fellowship, Auster focused on issues related to the effects of mobile fishing gear on seafloor habitats, and the overexploitation of fish populations and their links to conservation of marine biological diversity. During this period, Auster served on a National Research Council committee to assess the effects of trawling and dredging on seafloor habitats. While doing fieldwork focused on fishing effects on tropical systems, Auster found that positive behavioral interactions between coral reef fishes changed across habitats. This serendipitous discovery provided the foundation for a new research program in his lab focused on behavior webs, their ecological implications, and the benefits of monitoring such interactions to assess the integrity of reef fish communities. As a result, Auster and his colleagues focused on the power of underwater imagery to develop multiple outreach products to inform the public about the diversity of ocean habitats and their importance in supporting healthy communities of fishes. Outreach materials focused on Long Island Sound, Oceanographer Canyon, and the Gulf of Maine provided important context in various discussions about conservation and sustainable use of these areas.

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