Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Shannon White

Shannon White


Having earned a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Randolph-Macon College and a M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech, I’ve devoted my academic career to understanding various aspects of fish ecology. My research has included topics on non-game fish conservation, stream habitat restoration, and social learning in salmonids. Through this, I developed a keen interest in determining how the behavior of individual fish drive observed patterns in populations and across landscapes; a topic I will explore further while pursuing a Ph.D. in the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Research Interests

My primary research interest is stream trout ecology. Trout research is filled with a myriad of studies aiming to model population-level characteristics such as fish movement, growth, and response to environmental change. These models often do not incorporate fish behavior, a variable that can be highly plastic and is influenced by genetics, social learning, and the environment. As such, the models sometimes fall short of predicting reality. My research aims to bridge the gap between individual behaviors and populations. I have a passion for understanding the cognitive processes that underlie fish behaviors, and the practical problem solver in me wants to use this information to better our understanding of natural resource management. In short, I want to not only describe, for example, fish movement, but understand the decision making process that led an individual fish to move, how the fish decided where to go, and how this movement may have disrupted the population’s genetic and social network.

Research Publications

  • White, S.L., W.L. Miller, S.A. Dowell, M.L. Bartron, and T. Wagner. Accepted. Limited hatchery introgression into wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) populations despite reoccurring stocking. Evolutionary Applications.
  • White, S.L., T. Wagner, C. Gowand, and V.A. Braithwaite. 2017. Can personality predict individual differences in brook trout spatial learning ability? Behavioural Processes 141:220-228.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 3

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 21

Scientific Publications: 92

Presentations: 121


Contact Information


Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  2. Pennsylvania Game Commission
  3. Pennsylvania State University
  4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  5. U.S. Geological Survey
  6. Wildlife Management Institute