SCIENTIST. SCI COMM. ARTIST. FISHERMAN.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
After graduating from Cornell University in 2016 with a BS in biology and a concentration in marine biology, I started my PhD in biology at Wake Forest University in Dr. Miriam Ashley-Ross' lab. After receiving my PhD in May 2020, I immediately stated as postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Doug Fudge's lab at Chapman University. My research interests include fish biology, functional morphology, biomechanics, and behavior, with a special focus on how amphibious fishes move and orient on land. In addition to being a scientist, I am an artist that uses photography, Photoshop, and a biochemical technique called clearing and staining to create skeletal images of vertebrates. I am also a competitive fisherman on a mission to catch every species of fish (currently at 412!) and a scientific blogger for the journal Integrative Organismal Biology, Integrative and Comparative Biology, The Company of Biologists through Outside JEB, and the Discovery Channel TV show, A Fishing Story. Currently at Chapman University, I am studying the properties of hagfish slime to see how they could be used to help people, such to safely stop boat propellers at high speeds and to fight wildfires. I am also a lecturer on the Natural History of Vertebrates at the University of San Diego.
THE FISH THAT WALK ON LAND
With the help of the TED-Ed staff and the amazing animator Anna Benner, I created a lesson to teach people about amphibious fishes and their biology, diversity, and behaviors.
CURRENT AND RECENT RESEARCH
EMERSION AND FUNCTIONAL TERRESTRIAL LOCOMOTION BY THE INVASIVE NORTHERN SNAKEHEAD (CHANNA ARGUS)
In collaboration with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, I studied the terrestrial locomotion, behaviors, and emersion of the Northern Snakehead, an invasive species throughout the United States. Using a combination of EMG and high-speed video, I am described how they are able to move overland on a variety of substrates over a broad size range. Through behavioral assays, I described how poor water conditions can cause snakeheads to emerge from the water.
TERRESTRIAL ORIENTATION AND NATURAL HISTORY OF THE INVASIVE WALKING CATFISH (CLARIAS BATRACHUS)
Walking Catfish are an invasive species in southern Florida that can breathe air and move well on land. While many amphibious fishes only come onto land during the day and use vision to orient out of water, Walking Catfish have relatively small eyes and often come onto land at night. In collaboration with the University of Florida, I used behavioral experiments to determine the senses and cues these fish use to orient out of water. I described how these fish are the first known example of fish using chemoreception for terrestrial orientation. Additionally, I crowd-sourcing natural history data on this species by analyzing YouTube videos and interviewing Floridians about the conditions surrounding sightings of Walking Catfish on land. While they often emerge in urban areas when it is wet out (sometimes swimming out of storm drains!), they will come onto land for a variety of reasons under a variety of conditions/
ORAL COLLAGEN DISTRIBUTION IN LORICARIOID CATFISHES
Many Loricarioid catfishes (which include plecos and suckerfish) have oral sucker discs to help them adhere to the substrate. However, this highly diverse superfamily exhibits a great range in mouth morphology. In collaboration with several other institutions, we are described the oral soft tissue anatomy and diversity. Using staining techniques, morphometrics, ecological data, and phylogenetics, we have determine that plecos living in high flow, rocky environments have thicker lips with more collagen than those in low flow to help them hold on.
REFFLING: AN ENTIRELY NEW FORM OF TERRESTRIAL LOCOMOTION
Armored Suckermouth Catfishes (Loricariidae or "Plecos") have incredible armor and morphology that great restricts their range of motion/flexibility. Despite this, they can move quite well on land. Through high-speed video, modeling, and microCT scans, I was able to describe their unique terrestrial locomotor behavior and how it is achieved. They coordinate asymmetric tail, pelvic fin, pectoral fin, body, and mouth movements to move forward on land in a way unlike any other locomotor behavior, which is why a new word was needed to describe this behavior: reffling (or repetitive flinging, based on tail movements that move the fish forward using inertia, not ground reaction forces). This unusual behavior is likely used because their morphology physical restricts them from moving overland using any other behavior. However, by having rigid connections between the vertebral column and the pelvic girdle, these fish are likely able to transmit force extremely well to the ground to aid inertial tail movements, propelling the fish forward.
HAGFISH SLIME PROPERTIES AND USES
Hagfish are primitive, jawless, eyeless, and boneless fishes that live in the extreme depths of the oceans. They have a unique defense against predators: slime. Their slime is unlike other fish slime in that they can produce enormous quantities of dilute slime very rapidly. This slime is also reinforced by threads that are tough like spider silk. As a member of Dr. Doug Fudge's at Chapman University, we are investigating the possible uses of hagfish slime, such as how it could be used by the US Navy to safely stop boat propellers at high speed (pictured above, credit: NAVSEA). We are also describing the unusual properties of hagfish slime and the effects it has on predatory fish.
Contact me for a full list of publications and free PDFs at:
A WALKING BEHAVIOR GENERATES FUNCTIONAL OVERLAND MOVEMENTS IN THE TIDEPOOL SCULPIN, OLIGOCOTTUS MACULOSUS
WHERE DO FISH GO WHEN STRANDED ON LAND? TERRESTRIAL ORIENTATION OF THE MANGROVE RIVULUS KRYPTOLEBIAS MARMORATUS
To arrange art exhibits/shows, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase artwork in a variety of sizes, colors, and media, please contact me or check out my online shop: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/noah-bressman. All artwork here is trademarked and property of Noah Bressman.
RECENT BLOG POSTS
January 4th, 2021
November 7th, 2020
November 2nd, 2020
August 18th, 2020
August 14th, 2020
August 5th, 2020
July 28th, 2020
May 19th, 2020
May 11th, 2020
April 14, 2020
April 4th, 2020
February 25th, 2020
February 25th, 2020
February 3rd, 2020
September 24th, 2019
June 27th, 2019
February 5th, 2019
December 11th, 2018
November 11th, 2018
October 22nd, 2018
LECTURER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO
January 2021 - Present
Natural History of the Vertebrates
August 31st, 2020
Created an animated lesson to teach people about amphibious fishes.
POST-DOCTORAL FELLOW - CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY
May 2020 - Present
Working in Dr. Doug Fudge's lab on a Department of Defense grant to study how hagfish slime can be used to safely stop moving boat propeller, as well as mentoring undergrads while describing the properties of hagfish slime.
OUTSTANDING BIOLOGY GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD
Awarded by the Biology Department at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
FINALIST - SICB BEST STUDENT PAPER COMPETITION
Finalist in the Best Student Paper Competition for Division of Comparative Biomechanics at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology's Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL. Presented my research on the emersion and terrestrial locomotion of the invasive Northern Snakehead (Channa argus).
ANIMAL SUPER POWERS GRANT
Received a crowd-funded grant from Experiment.com to study the terrestrial orientation and natural history of invasive Walking Catfish in Florida. $1002.
NOMINATION TO THE MID-ATLANTIC FISHERIES MANAGEMENT COUNCIL
While I ultimately did not receive the federal appointment, I was one of three nominees by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to represent New York State on the MAFMC.
PHD PROGRAM - WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
August 2016 - May 2020
Received my PhD in biology at Wake Forest University, studying fish biomechanics, functional morphology, and behavior.
FISH FUNCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY COURSE - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Student in the graduate-level research course at Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington. Researched the ossification in sculpins, and how it related to habitat and phylogeny.
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP
August 2016 - May 2020
Received the NSF GRFP in March 2016 to pursue my PhD at Wake Forest University, studying terrestrial locomotion and orientation in fishes.
BLINKS-NSF REU-BEACON RESEARCH INTERNSHIP - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Performed an REU at Friday Harbor Labs with Drs. Alice Gibb and Stacy Farina on the terrestrial locomotion of the Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculosus)
ANDREW W. MELLON STUDENT RESEARCH GRANT
Received a research grant to purchase a high-speed camera and study the terrestrial locomotion and orientation of the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) at Shoals Marine Lab. $800.
BACHELOR'S DEGREE - CORNELL UNIVERSITY - MAGNA CUM LAUDE
August 2012 - May 2016
Graduated from Cornell University with a degree in biology and a concentration in marine biology. Worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Willy Bemis' lab while at Cornell, studying fish functional morphology, behavior, and biomechanics.
2012 - 2017
Volunteer educator and gallery guide at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT.