I have been studying California freshwater fishes, as an academic and resource manager, since 1994. My current research examines the synergistic effects of global climate change, land use practices, and fisheries management on inland fishes in California. I use conceptual and linear (generalized and mixed-effects) models to determine how these factors influence adult survival, community structure, and conservation status of species. I also use time series analysis to determine trends within spawner numbers themselves. When used together, these analyses help resource managers identify where and when different populations may experience bottlenecks and areas that can serve as biodiversity reserves. This research is significant as the first to look at impacts from climate change concurrently with other factors that drive population abundances at multiple temporal and spatial scales. Our group is also closely monitoring the effects of unprecedented drought and varying levels of habitat degradation on fish assemblages and ecosystem recovery. In summer 2014, we evaluated the combined effects of habitat degradation and extreme drought on fish community structure in streams throughout the state.
The questions that drive my research are directly drawn from my experiences as a fisheries biologist for the U.S. Forest Service, a position I held for 11 years (2001-2012). My career is based on the belief that science should be directly applied to make informed management decisions, particularly where threatened and endangered species are concerned. Most of my work with the Forest Service was two-fold, as a field fish biologist and as a member of interdisciplinary teams. In the field, I supervised and took part in population surveys, water quality assessments, and restoration projects. Within interdisciplinary teams, I have developed research projects and policy recommendations, monitored land use practices (e.g. timber harvest, mining), developed conservation plans, and provided information on dam decommissioning and salmonid population trends to the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce. I have worked closely with a myriad of stakeholders, including other Federal, state, and county agencies; recreational and commercial fishing groups; ranchers; farmers; Native American tribes; academics; and environmental groups.
I also enjoy teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students. I lead a seminar, Climate change and conservation of aquatic ecosystems, in Spring quarter.