Turingan, Ralph

Associate Professor
Biological Sciences

Educational Background

B.S. University of the Philippines
M.S. University of Rhode Island
Ph.D. University of Puerto Rico

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (1995-2000)

Research Scientist, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (1993-1995)

Current Research

In one project, we explore the causal mechanisms that underlie mortality in marine fish larvae, focusing on the critical period of first feeding. We investigate how the functional design of the feeding mechanism influences prey-capture performance of marine fish larvae. We address several questions, including how the feeding mechanism develops during the early-life history stages of marine fishes; how the feeding mechanism of marine fish larvae work; and how prey type influences prey–capture performance in marine fish larvae. Through this research, students and I will attempt to develop stage- and species–specific models to demonstrate the interplay between feeding functional morphology, prey–selectivity, and feeding performance in marine fish larvae.

Other projects involve investigating the intra- and inter-specific variation in feeding biomechanics and behavior in coral reef and estuarine fishes. Estuaries and lagoons serve as nursery grounds for a number of fish species, including those of commercially and recreationally importance. Coral reefs harbor one of the most diverse fish assemblages in the world. Anthropogenic, coupled with natural disturbances alter fish habitats that may cause variations in the physiology and behavior of fishes. Students and I explore how changes in food supply, habitat characteristics, temperature, salinity and other environmental parameters influence the ecological physiology of fishes. Our lack of understanding of how fishes solve these problems underscores the need to explore the compensatory mechanisms (e.g., morphological and physiological) that enable fishes to counteract these environmental perturbations.

Selected Publications

Turingan, R.G., J.L. Beck, J.M. Krebs and J.D. Licamele. 2005. Development of feeding mechanics in marine fish larvae and the swimming behavior of zooplankton prey: implications for rearing marine fishes. C.-S. Lee, P.J. O'Bryen, and N.M. Marcus (eds). In: Copepods in Aquaculture. Blackwell Publishing Professional, Ames, Iowa, USA.

Durie, C.J. and R.G. Turingan. 2004. The effects of opercular-linkage disruption on prey-capture kinematics in the teleost fish Sarotherodon melanotheron. Journal of Experimental Zoology. 301A: 642653.

Carroll, A.M., P.C. Wainwright, S.H. Huskey, D.C. Collar and R.G. Turingan. 2004. Morphology predicts suction feeding performance in centrarchid fishes. Journal of Experimental Biology. 207: 38733881.

Krebs, J.M. and R.G. Turingan. 2003. Intraspecific variation in gape-prey size relationships and feeding success during early ontogeny in red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus. Environmental Biology of Fishes 66: 7584.

Guigand, C.M. and R.G. Turingan. 2002. Feeding behavior and prey capture kinematics of juvenile tarpon (Megalops atlanticus). Contributions in Marine Sciences 35: 4354.

Huskey, S.H. and R.G. Turingan. 2001. Variation in prey-resource utilization and oral jaw gape between two populations of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides. Environmental Biology of Fishes 61: 185194.

Cutwa, M. and R.G. Turingan. 2000. Intralocality variation in food habit and feeding biomechanics in the sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, with implications for the ecomorphology of fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 59: 191198.