• Sexual selection

    • Identifying sexual selected traits in males

    • Impacts of excess phosphorus on male sexual traits

  • Coexistence

    • Impacts of positive- and negative-size selective predators
    • Mating preferences among cryptic species
    • Competitive ability & predator susceptibility among cryptic species
    • Effects of different leaf litter species on amphipod performance


Research Overview

We conduct research at the interface of aquatic ecology, evolution, animal behavior and ecotoxicology. We ask general, conceptual questions and we do so with a wide diversity of aquatic organisms including algae, aquatic plants, zooplankton, snails, bivalves, insects, crustaceans, amphibians, and fish.


Since 2014, our research has included much more work on lake ecosystems as part of The Jefferson Project at Lake George. This is an unprecedented effort to combine a Smart Sensor Network, advanced computer models (weather, runoff, lake circulation, and food web models), and leading-edge experimentation. Our goal is to serve as a global blueprint for how scientists and engineers can study and understand human impacts on the environment and, in turn, inform decision makers about how to mitigate these human impacts.

Below is a summary of the research we have been doing.


  • Ecological effects

    • Effects on behavior, morphology, and survival

    • Impacts on species interactions and food webs

    • Effects of pesticide mixtures

    • Cross-tolerance among insecticides

    • Synergistic effects with predator stress

    • Synergistic effects with competitor stress

    • Lag effects of pesticide exposure

    • Mitigating insecticides with aquatic plants

  • Evolutionary effects

    • Evolved tolerance across landscapes

    • Evolved populations alter food webs

    • Inducible pesticide tolerance

    • Phylogenetic patterns of pesticide tolerance


  • Chytrid fungus (an amphibian pathogen)

    • Species-level differences in tolerance

    • Population-level differences in tolerance

    • Phylogenetic patterns of tolerance among frogs

    • Tests of putative reservoir species

    • Interactions with competition and predation

    • Interactions with pesticides

    • Effects of carotenoids on disease susceptibility

    • Fungicides facilitate fungal infections

  • Trematodes and Ranavirus

    • Evolved pesticide tolerance affects susceptibility

  • Does leaf species matter?

    • Effects of different tree species on food webs

    • Leaf leaching alters predator-prey interactions

    • Impacts of leaf litter biodiversity of food webs and ecosystem function

    • Interactions between leaf litter and road salt

    • Interactions between leaf litter and pesticides

    • Litter-induced changes in tadpole morphology

    • Litter-induced changes in amphibian sex

    • Carry-over effects after metamorphosis


  • Predator-induced traits

    • Behavior, morphology, life history

    • Brain plasticity

    • Responses to different predator combinations

    • Reversibility of predator induction

    • Population level differences in plasticity

    • Costs of induction

    • Costs of simply carrying plasticity

    • Heritability of plastic traits

    • Phylogenetic patterns of plasticity

    • Lasting effects after metamorphosis

    • The predator and prey cues that induce plasticity

    • Trait-mediated effects of predator induction

  • Competitor-induced traits

    • Changes in behavior, morphology, and life history
    • Interactive effects of competitor and predator environments
    • Trade-offs of competitor-induced traits
    • Lasting effects after metamorphosis

  • Predator-induced traits

    • Changes in behavior, morphology, life history

    • Lifetime fitness effects of predator induction

    • Responses to different predator combinations

    • Reversibility of predator-induced traits

    • Trait-mediated effects of predator induction

  • Self-fertilizing behaviors

    • Effects of selfing vs. outcrossing on life history decisions
    • Effects of selfing vs. outcrossing on predator-induced traits


  • Wetlands in Michigan (1996-2012)

    • Long-term population and meta-community dynamics across a landscape

  • Wetlands in Patagonia (1999-2001)

    • New classification of wetland types

  • The Lake George watershed (2015-present)

    • Lake fish
    • Lake invertebrates
    • Stream invertebrates
    • Lake and stream chemistry


  • Ecological effects

    • Effects on a diversity of aquatic species across a range of relevant concentrations

    • Salt-induced sex changes in amphibians

    • Trophic cascades through food webs

    • Impacts of salt alternatives and organic additives

    • Interactions with nutrients and light

    • Interactions with predatory stress

    • Mitigation of effects by leaf litter

    • Combined effects with pesticides

    • Facilitating heavy metal release


  • Evolutionary effects
    • Cross-tolerance among different salts

    • Experimental evolution of salt tolerance

    • The loss of circadian rhythms

    • Evolved populations alter food webs



  • Ecological Effects

    • ​​​Effects on food webs

    • Competition with native species

    • Impacts of soil type and nutrients

    • Impacts of different road salts

    • Interactions with road salts and light

    • Effects of water turbidity

    • Interactions with climate change

    • Facilitation by past invaders

    • Interactions with herbicides and algicides

    • Niche modeling invasives​​​



Over the years, we have remained diverse in the questions we ask and the taxa we examine.  We strike a balance between research that asks basic ecological and evolutionary questions and research that has real-world applications.  Collectively, this work allows us to offer new insights into ecology, evolution, toxicology, and conservation.



  • Ecological Effects

    • Estimating critical performance temperatures in various aquatic species

    • Altered performance with predator cues

    • Altered performance with pesticides

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