Supervisor: Tony Ricciardi
I am interested in the relationship between aquatic invasive species and riverine habitat modification, in particular dams and impoundments. There has been a shift in environmental attitudes concerning dams; what were once important aids to navigation and sources of power are now seen by some as outdated, obsolete obstructions to the natural flow of rivers. In some cases dam removal can positively affect native fishes, by restoring historical habitat types, species distributions, or migration routes, and the dewatering of reservoirs may decrease local vulnerability to invasion. In invaded watersheds, such as the Laurentian Great Lakes, there is concern that dam removal may facilitate the colonization of tributary river systems by aquatic invasive species (AIS). I will develop models to predict outcomes of dam removal on the distribution and impact of current and future invasive fish species in Great Lakes tributaries that will aid in decision-making for proposed dam removal projects. The round goby will serve as a model organism to forecast the spread and impact of current and future AIS (e.g., Asian carp) in Great Lakes tributaries. I will identify the environmental conditions and infrastructure that facilitate or inhibit spread, establishment, and impacts. Further, I will use two ecological manipulations (dam removal and reservoir drawdown) to elucidate complex interactions among AIS and the tributary environment.