Fish biology

Caleb Hasler, associate professor, Department of Biology

Supplied photo

Dr. Caleb Hasler grew up in a small town in Eastern Ontario. “I had no clue what a master’s was or no clue what a PhD was at the time.”

“I ended up doing a biology (undergraduate) degree, where it was a mix between biology classes and then geographic information systems, so GIS.” Hasler was hired for a summer research position be- cause of his GIS training.

“I quickly realized, hey, I think I want to do research.” His focus on fish came from a lab assignment he did during his undergrad. “I learned a bunch about it, and so then I thought, well, I already know this much about it, I may as well start learning more about fish.”

Now, Hasler is a fish biologist, and in April 2021, he was awarded the Chan- cellor’s Research Chair, which is a three-year research appointment. “My lab does mostly whole-organism research. We’re looking at things like how do fish behave, what are their metabolic rates, which is a performance indicator. We also look at fish age and growth in the wild.” He also studies environmental change, like invasive species, climate change, hydropower and the Anthropocene.

“When I got into this position, I thought, oh, every student was probably like me, that they wanted to go to grad school,” Hasler says. “One thing I’ve really noticed is that they’re not. There’s a huge variation in the students that I work with in terms of what they want to do.”

“I really enjoy working with students, particularly at the graduate level, and also at the undergraduate level with directed studies and honours where you can kind of work one-on-one with them. It’s really rewarding.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I have a toddler, so they take up a fair bit of time when I’m not working. In terms of pastimes, I do crosswords on the weekend ... and I have a Peloton bike that I try to ride every morning.”

What is something you’ve learned from students?

“From an almost comedic point of view, they’ve taught me to speak in GIFs.

What is your favourite fish?

“Goldeye ... They have a really unique Winnipeg history. ”

Published in Volume 77, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 26, 2023)

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