Barbara Block studies how tuna, billfish and sharks move around (and stay warm) in the open ocean. Knowing how these large predators travel through pelagic waters will help us understand their role in the wider ocean ecosystem.
Barbara Block takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying how large pelagic fish live and travel in the open ocean. Using novel electronic tags, Block and her team track large predators — tunas, billfish and sharks — on their ocean journeys. She also studies how and why muscle makes heat at a molecular level in fish.
Working out of Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, Block and her colleagues run the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, a member of the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) program. Combining tracking data with physiological and genetic analyses, Block (a MacArthur "genius" grant winner) is developing population and ecological models to help us understand these fishes' roles in the ocean ecosystem — and perhaps learn to better manage these important food fish.