Freshwater species are among the most imperiled groups globally with rates of decline comparable to declines in tropical rainforest species. Of all taxonomic groups in North America, the top four most imperiled taxa have a freshwater origin, including mussels, crayfish, amphibians and freshwater fishes. I use freshwater mussels, benthic invertebrates, and mostly fishes to understand mechanisms related to the global loss of freshwater biodiversity.
Many of the mechanisms for the decline of freshwater organisms are well known, including: pollution, climate change, and the introduction of non-native species. However, what remains less studied, and a vital research need, is the impact of land-use change, alterations in stream hydrology, and how to recover/reclaim damaged sites. By the year 2100, land-use change will outpace all other impacts for declines to freshwater systems, largely due to changes in habitat alterations and stream hydrology.
Some of the topics/questions I of my research program include:
1) What are the impacts of global change [e.g. climate & land-use] on hydrologic alteration & stream fish communities?
2) How do alterations in hydrology impact stream form & aquatic biodiversity?
3) Modelling critical habitat for species at risk of extinction.
4) How do non-native species impact native fauna?
5) How can we recover and/or reclaim of freshwater biodiversity post-impact.