Hobbslab at UC Davis

The Hobbs Laboratory in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at UC Davis is committed to providing the highest quality research using a variety of research tools to investigate anthropogenic impacts on fish and their ecosystems.


We specialize in otolith microstructure analysis for daily growth rates and otolith microchemistry with laser ablation inductively couple plasma mass spectrometry. Our research projects span a wide range of topics pertaining to fish otoliths including growth histories, back-calculating hatch dates, determining natal origins of migratory species and detailed reconstructions of life history. In addition to otolith studies we also use other hard parts such as spinous fin rays and fish scales for aging and for microchemistry studies. We are experienced with chemistry marking studies for age validations and transgenerational marking of progeny with isotope doping.

Research Areas

Surveys and monitoring

Long-term fish, invertebrate, and water quality surveys in the San Francisco Estuary


Otolith analyses

Otolith microstructure (age and growth) and microchemistry (trace elements, strontium isotopes, oxygen isotopes)


Ecological modelling

Quantifying community and population dynamics, and variation in life-history traits, in relation to water quality and environmental change