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Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Directory Page Title

Richard Brill

Fishery Biologist, NMFS, NOAA & Adjunct Faculty VIMS

Email : [[rbrill]]
Phone : (804) 684-7875
Interests : Fisheries Science. Physiology, bioenergetics, and sensory biology of fishes.
Office : Andrews Hall 102
Department : Fisheries Science

Education
  • B.A., Lafayette College
  • M.S., Northeastern University
  • Ph.D., John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
Research Interests

My interests center on the physiological ecology, sensory biology, and bioenergetics of fishes. The overall objective is to use physiological research techniques to address questions pertinent to fisheries science. Whenever possible, I employ field and laboratory approaches that exist in a reciprocal relationship where each generates hypotheses that are subsequently tested in the other. During much of my career, I investigated the effects of oceanographic conditions on the distribution, abundance, and fishing gear vulnerability of commercially important tunas and billfishes. Since joining VIMS, I have focused more on questions relevant to Chesapeake Bay species and the inshore environment.

Current Projects

Recent projects involving VIMS students, faculty, and other colleagues include:

  • Quantifying the hypoxia tolerance of Chesapeake Bay fishes, including the effects of elevated temperatures on hypoxia tolerance.
  • Deployment of electronic (i.e., data recording) tags on pelagic fishes (tunas, billfishes and sharks) to determine migratory patterns and rates of survival following release from longline fishing gear.
  • Development of methods to reduce the bycatch sharks on longline fishing gear.
  • Investigation of the hearing abilities and visual function of Chesapeake Bay teleost fishes and sharks.
  • Quantifying the visual deficits caused by exposure to direct sunlight in fishes (occurring after capture and prior to release).
  • Investigation of factors controlling cardiac function in teleost fishes and sharks.
Projects currently under development
  • Investigating the effects of ocean acidification on cardio-respiratory physiology and sensory biology of Chesapeake Bay teleost fishes.
  • Investigating the sensory biology and hypoxia tolerance of Indo-Pacific lionfish, with the goal of understanding the ability of this invasive species to occupy mid-Atlantic estuaries.
  • Quantifying the ability of sound producing fishes to communicate acoustically in an increasingly noisy oceanic environment.
Selected Publications
  • Musyl, M. K., C. D. Moyes, R. W. Brill, B. L. Mourato, A. West, L. M. McNaughton, W.-C. Chiang, C.-L. Sun. 2015. Post-release mortality in istiophorid billfish. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 72: 538-556.
  • Harter, T. S., P. R. Morrison, J. W. Mandelman, J. L. Rummer, A. P. Farrell, R. W. Brill, and C. J. Brauner. 2015. Validation of the i-STAT system for the analysis of blood gases and acid-base status in juvenile sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus). Conser. Physiol. 3: 1-10.
  • Eddy, C., D. Bernal, and R. Brill. Rates of at-vessel mortality and post-release survival of pelagic sharks captured with tuna purse seines around drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Fish. Res. (accepted with revision).
  • Brill, R. W. and P. G. Bushnell, T. Elton, and H. Small. The ability of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) to sustain aerobic metabolism during hypoxia. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. (submitted)
  • Brill, R. W. and N. Chin Lai. Elasmobranch Cardiovascular System. Book chapter intended for upcoming volume in the Fish Physiology series. A. Farrell, R. Shadwick, and C. Brauner (editors) (submitted).
  • Sturdivant, K. S., M. Perchik, R. W. Brill, P. Bushnell. Metabolic responses of the Nereid polychaete, Alitta succinea, to hypoxia at varying temperatures, with consequences for bioturbation. J. Exp. Marine Biol. Ecol. (submitted).
  • Horodysky, A. Z., R. W. Brill, S. J. Cooke. Physiology in the service of fisheries science - why thinking mechanistically matters. Reviews Fish Biol. Fish. (submitted).
  • Mathieu-Costello, O., R.W. Brill, and P.W. Hochachka. 1995. Design for a high speed path for oxygen: tuna red muscle ultrastructure and vascularization. pp. 1-13. In P.W. Hochachka and T. P. Mommsen (eds.), Metabolic Biochemistry. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Fishes. Vol. 4. Elsvier.
  • Mathieu-Costello, O., R.W. Brill, and P.W. Hochachka. 1996. Structural basis for oxygen delivery: Muscle capillaries and manifolds in tuna red muscle. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 114A: 25-31.
  • Block, B.A., J.E. Keen, B. Castillo, H. Dewar, E.V. Freund, D.J.Marcinek, R.W. Brill, C. Farwell. 1997. Environmental preferences of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) at the northern extent of their range. Mar. Biol. 130: 119-132.
  • Brill, R.W., K.L. Cousins, D.R. Jones, P.B. Bushnell, and J.F. Steffensen. 1998. Red cell space, plasma space, and blood volume of a high energy demand teleost, the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). J. exp. Biol. 201: 647-654.
  • Lowe, T., R. Brill, and K. Cousins. 1998. Responses of the red blood cells from two high-energy-demand teleosts, yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), to catecholamines. J. Comp. Physiol. B 168: 405-418.
  • Brill, R., B. Block, C. Boggs, K. Bigelow, E. Freund, and D. Marcinek. 1999. Horizontal movements and depth distribution of large, adult yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) near the Hawaiian Islands, recorded using ultrasonic telemetry: implications for the physiological ecology of pelagic fishes. Mar. Biol. 133: 395-408.
  • Lutcavage, M.E., R.W. Brill, G.B. Skomal, B.C. Chase, and P.W. Howey. 1999. Results of pop up satellite tagging of spawning size class fish in the Gulf of Maine: Do North Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in the mid-Atlantic? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 56: 173-177.
  • Lowe, T., R. Brill, and K. Cousins. 2000. Blood O2-binding characteristics of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), a high-energy-demand teleost that is tolerant of low ambient O2. Mar. Biol. 136: 1087-1098.
  • Lutcavage, M.E., R.W. Brill, G.B. Skomal, B.C. Chase, J.L. Goldstein, and J. Tutein. 2000. Tracking adult northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the northwestern Atlantic using ultrasonic telemetry. Mar. Biol. 137: 347-358.
  • Brill, R., Y. Swimmer, K. Cousins, C. Taxboel, and T. Lowe. 2001. Na+-K+ ATPase activity and estimated osmoregulatory costs in three high-energy-demand teleosts: yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), and dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus). Mar. Biol. 138: 935-944.
  • Brill, R., and M. Lutcavage. 2001. Understanding environmental influences on movements and depth distribution of tunas and billfish can significantly improve stock assessments. Pages 179-198. In: G. R. Sedberry, editor. Island in the Stream: Oceanography and Fisheries of the Charleston Bump. American Fisheries Society Symposium 25, Bethesda, MD.
  • Brill, R.W. and P.G. Bushnell. 2001. The cardiovascular system of tunas. Pages 79-120. Fish Physiology, Vol. 19, Tuna -- Physiology, Ecology and Evolution. B. A. Block and E. D. Stevens (editors), Academic Press, San Diego.
  • Musyl, M.K., R.W. Brill, D.S. Curran, J.S. Gunn, J.R. Hartog, R.D. Hill, D.W. Welch, J.P. Eveson, C.H. Boggs, and R.E. Brainard. 2001. Ability of archival tags to provide estimates of geographical position based on light intensity. Pages 343-367. Proceedings of the Symposium on Tagging and Tracking of Marine Fish with Electronic Devices; J. R. Sibert and J. L. Nielsen (editors), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
  • Brill, R., M. Lutcavage, G. Metzger, P. Bushnell, M. Arndt. J. Lucy, and C. Watson. 2002. Horizontal and vertical movements of juvenile bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the western north Atlantic determined using ultrasonic telemetry. Fish. Bull. 100: 155-167.
  • Olson, K.R., H. Dewar, J.B. Graham, and R.W. Brill. 2003. Vascular anatomy of the gills in a high energy demand teleost, the skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). J. Exp. Zool. 297A: 17-31.
  • Sibert, J.R., M.K. Musyl, and R.W. Brill. 2003. Horizontal movements of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) near Hawaii determined by Kalman filter analysis of archival tagging data. Fisheries Oceanography 12: 141-151.
  • Musyl, M.K., R.W. Brill, C.H. Boggs, D.S. Curran, T.K. Kazama, and M.P. Seki. 2003. Vertical movements of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) associated with islands, buoys, and seamounts of the Hawaiian Archipelago from archival tagging data. Fisheries Oceanography 12: 152-169.
  • Braun, M.H., R.W. Brill, J.M. Gosline, and D.R. Jones. 2003. Form and function of the bulbous arteriosus in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares): Dynamic properties. J. exp. Biol. 206: 3311-3326.
  • Braun, M.H., R.W. Brill, J.M. Gosline, and D.R. Jones. 2003. Form and function of the bulbous arteriosus in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans): Static properties. J. exp. Biol. 206: 3327-3335.
  • Wilson, S.G., M.E. Lutcavage, R.W. Brill, M.P. Genovese, A.B. Cooper, and A.E. Everly. 2005. Movements of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean recorded by pop-up satellite archival tags. Mar. Biol. 146: 409-423.
  • Fritsches K.A., R.W. Brill, E.J. Warrant. 2005. Warm eyes provide superior vision at depth in swordfishes. Current Biology 15: 55-58.
  • Brill, R.W., K.A. Bigelow, M.K. Musyl, K.A. Fritsches, and E.J. Warrant. 2005. Bigeye tuna behavior and physiology... their relevance to stock assessments and fishery biology. Col. Vol. Sci. Pap. ICCAT 57: 142-161.
  • Swimmer, Y., L. McNaughton, C. Moyes, and R. Brill. 2005. Metabolic biochemistry of cardiac muscle in three tuna species (bigeye, Thunnus obesus; yellowfin, T. albacres; and skipjack, Katsuwonus pelamis) with divergent ambient temperature and oxygen tolerances. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 30: 27-25.
  • Swimmer, Y., R. Arauz, J. Ballestero, B. Higgins, L. McNaughton, M. McCracken, and R. Brill. 2005. Food Color and Marine Turtle Feeding Behavior: Can Blue Bait Reduce Turtle Bycatch in Commercial Fisheries? Marine Ecology Progress Series 295: 273-278.
  • Dowd, W., R. Brill, P. Bushnell, and J. Musick. 2006. Standard and routine metabolic rates of juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus Nardo), including the effects of body mass and acute temperature change. Fish. Bulletin 104: 323-331.
  • Dowd, W., R. Brill, P. Bushnell, and J. Musick. 2006. Estimating consumption rates of juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, using a bioenergetics model. Fish. Bulletin 104: 332-342.
  • Swimmer, Y., M. McMcracken, R. Arauz, L. McNaughton, Mike Musyl, Keith Bigelow, C. Boggs, and R. Brill. 2006. Survivorship and dive behavior of olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles after their release from longline fishing gear off Costa Rica. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 323: 253-261.
  • Moyes, C. D., N. Frugoso, M. K. Musyl, and R. W. Brill. 2006. Predicting postrelease survival in large pelagic fish. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 135: 1389-1397.
  • Sibert, J. R., M. E. Lutcavage, A. Nielsen, R. W. Brill, and S. G. Wilson. 2006. Inter-annual variation in large-scale movement of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) determined from pop-up satellite archival tags. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 63: 2154-2166.
  • Brill, R. W. and P. G. Bushnell. 2006. Effects of open- and closed-system temperature changes on blood O2 -binding characteristics of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). Fish Physiol. Biochem. 32: 283-294.
  • Malte, H., C. Larsen, M. K. Musyl, and R. W. Brill. 2007. Differential heating and cooling rates in bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus); a model of non-steady state heat exchange. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 2618-2626.
  • Magel, C., R. Brill, K. Wakefield, and N. Targett. 2007. Activity in the pallial nerve of knobbed (Busycon carica) and channeled (Busycotypus canaculatum) whelks recorded during exposure of the osphradium to odorant solutions. Fish. Bull. 105: 485-492.
  • Brill, R., P. Bushnell, S. Schroff, R. Seifert, and M. Galvin. 2008. Effects of anaerobic exercise accompanying catch-and-release fishing on blood-oxygen affinity of the sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus, Nardo) J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 34: 132-143.
  • Horodysky, A.Z., R.W. Brill, M.L. Fine, J.A. Musick, and R.J. Latour. 2008. Acoustic pressure and acceleration thresholds in six sciaenid fishes. J. Exp. Biol. 211: 1504-1511.
  • Brill, R., C. Magel, M. Davis, R. Hannah, P. Rankin. 2008. Effects of rapid decompression and exposure to bright light (simulated capture) on the visual function of black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepsis). Fish. Bull. 106: 427-437.
  • Horodysky, A.Z., R.W. Brill, E.J. Warrant, J.A. Musick, R.J. Latour. 2008. Comparative visual function in five sciaenid fishes inhabiting Chesapeake Bay. J. Exp. Biol. 211: 3601-3612.
  • Southwood, A., K. Fritsches, R. Brill, Y. Swimmer. 2008. Sound, chemical, and light detection in sea turtles and pelagic fishes: sensory-based approaches to bycatch reduction in longline fisheries. Endang. Species Res. 5: 225-238.
  • Bernal, D., C. Sepulveda, M. Musyl, and R. Brill.  2009. The eco-physiology of swimming and movement patterns of tunas, billfishes, and large pelagic sharks. Pages 436-483.  In: Fish Locomotion: and etho-ecological approach.  P. Domenici and BG Kapoor (editors), Science Publishers, Enfield, NH.
  • Swimmer,Y., M. Chaloupka, L. McNaughton, M. Musyl, and R. Brill. Bayesian hazard regression modeling of factors affecting post-release mortality of loggerhead sea turtles caught in pelagic longline fisheries. Ecological Applications. (in press)
  • Galli, G., H. Shiels, and R. Brill.  2009.  Cardiac temperature sensitivity in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (T. obesus), mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius). Physiol.  and Biochem. Zool. 82: 280-290.
  • Brill, R., P. Bushnell, L. Smith, C. Speaks, R. Sundaram, E. Shroud, and J. Wang. 2009.  The repulsive and feeding deterrent effects of electropositive metals on juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus).  Fish. Bull. 107: 298-307.
  • Boye, J., M. Musyl, R. Brill, and H. Malte. 2009. Transectional heat transfer in thermoregulating bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) - a two-dimensional heat flux model. J. Exp. Biol. 212: 3708 -3718.
  • Magel, C. R., J. D. Shields, and R. W. Brill. 2009. Idiopathic lesions and visual deficits in clawed lobsters (Homarus americanus) from Long Island Sound, NY. Biol. Bull. 217: 95-101.
  • Dickhut, R. M., A. D. Deshpande, A. Cincinelli, M. A. Cochran, S. Corsolini, R.W.Brill, D. H. Secor, and J. E. Graves. 2009.  North Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) population dynamics delineated by persistent organochlorine tracers. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43: 8522-8527.
  • Musyl, M. K., C. D. Moyes, R. W. Brill, N. M. Fragoso. 2009. Factors influencing mortality estimates in post-release survival studies: Comment on Campana et al. (2009). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 396: 157- 159.
  • Horodysky, A.Z.,  R.W. Brill, E.J. Warrant, J.A. Musick, and R.J. Latour. 2010. Comparative visual function in four piscivorous fishes inhabiting Chesapeake Bay. J. Exp. Biol. 213: 1751-1761.
  • Patterson, M. R.,  A. Z. Horodysky,  B. W. Deffenbaugh, and R. W. Brill.  Using active echo cancellation to minimize stimulus reverberations during hearing studies conducted with the auditory brain response (ABR) technique.  J. of Biomed. Science and Eng. (in press).  Download "MATLAB scripts"
  • Gallagher,  A. J.,  L. H. Frick,  P. G.  Bushnell,  R. W. Brill,  and J. W. Mandelman.  Blood gas,  oxygen saturation, pH, and lactate values in elasmobranch blood measured with an i-STAT portable clinical analyzer and standard laboratory instruments.  J. Aquat. Animal Health.22: 229-234.
  • Patrick,  S. M.,  E. White,  R. W. Brill,  and H. A. Shiels. 2011. The effect of stimulation frequency on the transmural ventricular monophasic action potential in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares).   J. Fish Biol. 78: 651-658.
  • Lehodey, P., J. Hampton, R.W. Brill, S. Nicol, I. Senina, B. Calmettes, H.O. Pörtner, L. Bopp, L., T. Ilyina,T., J.D. Bell, and J. Sibert. 2011. Vulnerability of oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific to climate change. Pages o433-492  in J. Bell, J. E Johnson, and A. J. Hobday (editors); Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Noumea, New Caledonia.
  • Dewar, H., E. Prince, M. Musyl, R. Brill, C. Sepulveda, J. Lou, D. Foley, J. Serafy, M. Domeier, N. Nasby-Lucas, D. Snodgrass, M. Laurs, B. Block and L. McNaughton. 2011. Movements and behaviors of swordfish in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans examined using pop-up satellite tags.  Fish. Ocean. 20: 219-241.
  • Horodysky, A., R.W. Brill, P.G. Bushnell, J. Musick, and R. J. Latour. 2011. Metabolic rates of western North Atlantic sciaenid fishes. J. Fish Biol. 79: 235–255.
  • Musyl, M., R. Brill, L. McNaughton, Y. Swimmer, M. Domeier, N. Nasby-Lucas, M. Lutcavage, S. Wilson, B. Galuardi, F. Royer, and J. Liddle. 2011. Performance of pop-up satellite archival tags. Fish. Ocean.  433: 1-28.
  • Musyl, M.K., R.W. Brill, D.S. Curran, N.M. Fragoso, L.M. McNaughton, B.S. Kikkawa, and C.D. Moyes. 2011. Post-release survival, vertical and horizontal movements, and thermal niche partitioning in five species of pelagic sharks. Fish. Bull. 109: 341-368.
  • Caposella, K. M., M. C. Fabrizio, R. W. Brill, and P. G. Bushnell. 2012. Metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses of summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus to hypoxia at two temperatures. J. Fish Biol. 81: 1043-1058. 
  • Caposella, K. M, M.C. Fabrizio, and R.W. Brill. 2012. Migratory and within‑estuary behaviors of adult summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) in a Virginia Eastern Shore seaside lagoon using passive acoustic telemetry. Fish. Bull. 111: 189-201. 
  • Horodysky, A. Z., R. W. Brill, K. C. Crawford, E. S. Seagroves, and A. K. Johnson. 2013. Comparative visual ecophysiology of mid‑Atlantic temperate reef fishes. Biology Open. 2: 1371‑1381.
  • Bouyoucos, I., P. Bushnell, and R. Brill. 2013. Potential for electropositive metal to reduce the interactions of Atlantic sturgeon with fishing gear. Cons. Biol. 28: 278‑282.
  • Landgren, E., K. Fritsches, R. Brill and E. Warrant. 2014. The visual ecology of a deep-sea fish, the escolar Lepidocybium flavobrunneum (Smith, 1843).  Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 369: 20130039. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0039.
  • Lapointe, D., W. K. Vogelbein, M. C. Fabrizio, D. T. Gauthier, and R. W. Brill. 2014. Effects of temperature, hypoxia and mycobacteriosis on the metabolism of adult striped bass (Morone saxatilis). Dis. Aquat. Organ. 108: 113-129.
  • Kalonoski, M., A. Hirons, A. Horodysky, and R. Brill. 2014. Spectral sensitivity, light sensitivity, and temporal resolution of the visual systems in three sympatric coastal shark species: sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis canis), and spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). J. Comp. Physiol. A 200: 997-1013.
  • Musyl, M. K., C. D. Moyes, R. W. Brill, B. L. Mourato, A. West, L. M. McNaughton, W.-C. Chiang, C.-L. Sun. Post-release mortality in istiophorid billfish. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. (In press).
  • Brill, R. W. and P. G. Bushnell, T. Elton, and H. Small. The ability of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) to sustain aerobic metabolism during hypoxia. Fish. Bull. (submitted).
  • Brill, R. W. and N. Chin Lai. Elasmobranch Cardiovascular System. Book chapter intended for upcoming volume in the Fish Physiology series. A. Farrell, R. Shadwick, and C. Brauner (editors) (submitted).
  • Sturdivant, K. S., M. Perchik, R. W. Brill, P. Bushnell.. Metabolic responses of the Nereid polychaete, Alitta succinea, to hypoxia at varying temperatures, with consequences for bioturbation. J. Exp. Marine Biol. Ecol. (submitted).
  • Harter, T. S., P. R. Morrison, J. W. Mandelman, J. L. Rummer, A. P. Farrell, R. W. Brill, and C. J. Brauner. Validation of the i-STAT system for the analysis of blood gases and acid-base status in juvenile sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus). Conser. Physiol. (submitted).