I have been studying the ecology and conservation of freshwater and estuarine fishes in California for over 50 years. Working with numerous graduate students, postdocs, and colleagues, I have documented the status of all native freshwater fish species in California throughout this period, with special interest in salmon and other anadromous fishes. The interactions among native and alien species in environments with varying degrees of disturbance have provided a major basis for our ecological studies and have led to management actions to improve conservation of native fishes. In recent years, my group developed large data sets on the status, distribution, and ecology of native and alien fishes of California, and quantified potential impacts of climate change on each species. The team also created data bases on California dams and their impacts on fishes, especially through altered flows. These data sets are a major source of publications.
Another research focus is the ecology and conservation of fishes of the San Francisco Estuary, research that includes 40 years of monthly fish and macroinvertebrate sampling at multiple locations in Suisun Marsh.This research is now lthe charge of Dr. John Durand, research scientist with CWS. Increasingly, I discuss research results in the context of novel ecosystems and reconciliation ecology. A good example of this is studies on the Yolo Bypass and other floodplain systems, where management for desirable species has to be imbedded in highly altered systems containing many alien species and often seemingly conflicting land uses. The newest project, with John Durand and graduate student Dylan Stompe, is to evaluate the status and ecology of striped bass on the West Coast.
A major 'retirement' project is to look for cryptic or new species among California's endemic fishes,using genomic techniques. The first two papers (with Jason Baumsteiger as the lead) focus on the California roach complex, which can now be recognized as five species plus a number of subspecies. Papers in progress focus on the riffle sculpin complex and the speckled dace complex.