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Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Katelyn Lawson

Degree Obtained: Ph.D. (2018)
Major Professor: Dr. Jeff Hill

Katie Lawson came to the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab (TAL) in August 2013 earned her Ph.D. in 2018. Her research interests included stream ecology, ichthyology, and invasion ecology. Her research at Auburn University focused on analyzing stream fish assemblage shifts in Alabama tributaries as they relate to water availability and land use change. She had the opportunity to travel around the state of Alabama sampling fish from many of its state-owned lands. She also traveled across West Virginia sampling streams for fish for a summer and has developed a deep appreciation for stream fish diversity. Her research at the TAL blended life history theory and risk assessment to understand which traits contribute to successful reproduction, establishment, spread, and impacts of non-native freshwater fishes in Florida. The primary goal of her dissertation was to use statistical models to identify traits that can be used in a risk assessment tool to identify the probability of invasion success. Katelyn also enjoyed teaching and served as an adjunct professor at Hillsborough Community College where she taught Biology 1 (BSC 2010) and Biology 2 (BSC 2011).

Katie is currently employed as a GIS Analyst in the Alabama Natural Heritage Program (ALNHP), which is part of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History.  She manages the ALNHP's natural heritage inventory database (Biotics) and provides GIS support to the program. She is responsible for maintaining the program's geospatial database and data, responding to data requests, providing support to other staff members in the use of the database and Heritage Methodology, overseeing or assisting in the development of conservation plans, and conducting project-specific GIS analyses.

Katelyn Lawson with pleco


Katelyn Lawson bio page

Google Scholar Profile


  • Education

    Ph.D., 2018, University of Florida

    M.S., Fisheries Science, 2012, Auburn University

    B.S., Zoology, 2009, Auburn University

  • Selected Publications

    For the most recent publications please visit Katelyn's Google Scholar Profile

    Hill, J.E., G.H. Copp, S. Hardin, K.M. Lawson, L.L. Lawson Jr., Q.M. Tuckett, L. Vilizzi, and C.A. Watson. 2020. Comparing apples to oranges and other misrepresentations of the risk screening tools FISK and AS-ISK – a rebuttal of Marcot et al. (2019). Management of Biological Invasions 11(2):325-341.
    Read Here

    Hill, J.E., Q.M. Tuckett, S. Hardin, L.L. Lawson Jr., K.M. Lawson, J.L. Ritch, and L. Partridge. 2017. Risk screen of freshwater tropical ornamental fishes for the conterminous United States. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 146(5):927-938.
    Read Here

    Hill, J.E., K.M. Lawson, and Q.M. Tuckett. 2017. First record of a reproducing population of the African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis (Daudin, 1802) in Florida (USA). BioInvasions Records 6(1):87-95.
    Read Here

    Lawson, K.M., Q.M. Tuckett, J.L. Ritch, L. Nico, P. Fuller, E. Matheson, and J.E. Hill. 2017. Distribution and status update for select non-native fishes in the Tampa Bay area, a hot spot for non-native fishes. BioInvasions Records 6(4):393-406. 
    Read Here

    Tuckett, Q.M., J.L. Ritch, K.M. Lawson, and J.E. Hill. 2017. Landscape-scale survey of non-native fishes near ornamental aquaculture facilities in Florida, USA. Biological Invasions 19(1):223-237.
    Read Here

    Lawson, K.M. and C.E. Johnston. 2016. The role of flow dependency and water availability in fish assemblage homogenization in tributaries of the Chattahoochee River, Alabama, USA. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 25:631-641.
    Read Here

    Tuckett, Q.M., J.L. Ritch, K.M. Lawson, and J.E. Hill. 2016. Implementation and enforcement of best management practices for Florida ornamental aquaculture with an emphasis on non-native species. North American Journal of Aquaculture, 78(2):113-124.
    Read Here

    Tuckett, Q.M., J.L. Ritch, K.M. Lawson, L.L. Lawson Jr., and J.E. Hill. 2016. Variation in cold tolerance in escaped and farmed non-native Green Swordtails (Xiphophorus hellerii) revealed by laboratory trials and field introductions. Biological Invasions 18:45-56.
    Read Here

    Hill, J.E. and K.M. Lawson. 2015. Risk screening of Arapaima, a new species proposed for aquaculture in Florida. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35:885-894.
    Read Here

    Lawson, L.L., Q.M. Tuckett, K.M. Lawson, C.A. Watson, and J.E. Hill. 2015. Lower lethal temperature for Arapaima Arapaima gigas: potential implications for culture and establishment in Florida. North American Journal of Aquaculture 77(4):497-502.
    Read Here

  • Awards

    2017 Roger Rottman Memorial Scholarship recipient (highest student honor bestowed by the Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society)

    2016-2017 Outstanding PhD Student of the Year, University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

    2016 Jan F. Smith Conservation Award, Ecological and Evolutionary Ethology of Fish

    2016 Ecological and Evolutionary Ethology of Fish Travel Grant

    2014-2016 Florida Chapter AFS Travel Grant

    2013-2017 Graduate School Fellowship, University of Florida College of Agriculture and Life Sciences