Biodiversity is controlled by both biotic and abiotic factors, and the balance and number of these controls remains a key question in understanding ecological community assembly. In lakes in the Wind River range we are exploring the interactive effects of nutrient availability and predators on zooplankton communities.

Hornyhead Chub in Wyoming have a highly limited distribution and are classified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The conservation and recovery of Hornyhead Chub project will evaluate potential refuiga and reintroduction sites in the North Platte drainage and assess the effect of predation by non-native piscivores on existing Hornyhead Chub populations in the Laramie River.

Managers and ecologists are under increased pressure to quantify and understand how stressors, natural or anthropogenic, interact to affect environmental and ecological change. While most research has focused on single stressor effects at one level of ecological organization, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many ecosystems are affected by multiple stressors and their interactions can have negative consequences across many levels of ecological organization. Yet, comparatively few studies have assessed the interactive effects of multiple stressors, especially in freshwater ecosystems.

This study will evaluate survival and emigration of stocked Colorado River cutthroat trout in conjunction with multiple rearing/ stocking strategies. Fish movement will be monitored using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags over a period of two years.

Building on existing approaches using strontium geochemical signatures found in fish otoliths we plan to describe life history characteristics such as spawning site fidelity, stream of origin and movement patterns of salmonids located within the North Platte River drainage.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have been widely introduced across the world, and in some locations hybridize with native trout. We are studying the extent of hybridization between native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki bouvieri) and rainbow trout in the North Fork Shoshone River drainage near Cody, Wyoming.

Completed Projects

Burbot (Lota lota) are native to the Wind River and Bighorn drainage of Wyoming. Over the last several decades, burbot abundance has decreased throughout the species’ native range in Wyoming.

Wyoming has experienced a significant increase in energy development over the last two decades. The eastern front of the Wyoming Range has been impacted by this increase.

We are investigating Wyoming fish species’ thermal requirements and surface water temperature regimes in order to propose revisions to the existing Wyoming surface water temperature regulations.