Dr. Ruhl is a broadly trained aquatic ecologist with interests in behavioral ecology, limnology and environmental science. Much of his research is focused on how intraspecific variation in sex, phenotype, and personality influences social behavior of small fish, especially zebrafish (Danio rerio).
In addition to laboratory-based behavioral studies, Dr. Ruhl also studies the impact of both direct and indirect anthropogenic influences on ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems. Reservoirs are artificial aquatic habitats made and maintained by humans, but within which natural processes take place, making reservoirs a crucible for understanding the direct and indirect effects humans have on both ecosystem function and the biological community. Dr. Ruhl’s reservoir research has thus far focused on understanding how the aquatic community (plankton, fish, and turtles) responds to gradients in resources and conditions along the lotic-lentic transition of reservoirs.