401 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33606
Education: 2004 University of South Carolina, B.S.
2011 University of San Diego, M.S.
2017 Kansas State University, Ph.D.
Courses Taught: General Biology I
General Biology II
Career Specialties: Sean Hitchman is a broadly trained aquatic ecologist specializing in species-habitat relationships in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. He believes an interdisciplinary and multi-scale approach to understanding species-habitat relationships is paramount to the conservation of native biodiversity.
Professional and Community Activities: As an aquatic ecologist, Hitchman is concerned with two realities humans are faced with today: human alteration of habitat and the overwhelming decrease of biodiversity. His current research seeks to understand how spatial heterogeneity organizes stream habitats that influence fish biodiversity and bridges concepts from habitat heterogeneity hypothesis, keystone species and species-area relationships. Hitchman and his colleagues used a novel approach that included incorporating a continuous habitat survey, stratified fish sampling, and geographic information systems to help elucidate new species-habitat relationships. They identified riffles as “keystone habitats” where areas of high density riffles supported significantly more species of fishes.
Other research interests include the effect of low-head dams on stream fish communities, the efficacy of marine protected areas and tracking the movements of aquatic organisms.
He is an active participant of the ecological community as a member of the American Fisheries Society where he also serves on the Publication Awards Committee as well as the Ecological Society of America. He regularly presents his research at regional and national conferences and has published his work in peer-reviewed journals including Global Change Biology, Science of the Total Environment, Biogeochemistry and Marine Ecology Progress Series. He was also a contributing author on Kansas Fishes, a life history guide and taxonomic key for Midwestern fishes.
Honors and Awards: Outstanding member of the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit