Understanding the mechanisms that influence fish and invertebrate assemblages is important to predict how aquatic systems have responded and will respond to impacts both natural and human induced. Over the past several years, I have examined the interaction across management practices, water quality, and fish and invertebrate assemblages in agricultural and forested settings to assess ecosystem health or biological integrity in relation to land use practices, especially in riparian systems. The aquatic community composition of a stream is largely structured by its proximate physical habitat, which in turn is structured by riparian and watershed conditions at larger spatial scales. I have chosen to work in agricultural and forested settings because nonpoint source pollution associated with agricultural production and timber harvest has been identified as a major threat to water quality in the United States. Concern over the alarming rate of habitat alteration and increasing pressure on aquatic systems has translated into primarily site-level restoration and management strategies, while larger scale processes that may account for many of the observed habitat losses at a site have been unresolved or remain poorly understood. The inability to understand or separate larger scale effects may interfere with conclusions derived from research at smaller scales, more amenable to experimental tests.
Stream ecology, stream restoration and land use effects on aquatic communities
Huff, D. D., L. M. Miller, C. J. Chiziniski, and B. Vondracek. Online. Mixed-source reintroductions lead to outbreeding depression in the second-generation descendents of a native North American fish. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05271.x
Raymond, K. L. and B. Vondracek. 2011. Relationships among rotational and conventional grazing systems, stream channels and macroinvertebrates. Hydrobiologia 669(1):105-117.
Chizinski, C. J., A. Peterson, J. Hanowski, C. Blinn, B. Vondracek, and G. Niemi. 2011. Breeding bird response to partially harvested riparian management zones in northern Minnesota. Forest Ecology and Management 261:1892-1900.
Dolph, C. L., D. D. Huff, C. J. Chizinski, and B. Vondracek. 2011. Implications of community concordance for assessing stream health at three nested spatial scales in Minnesota, USA. Freshwater Biology 56(8):1652–1669.
Williams. M. A. and B. Vondracek. 2010. Spring distributions in Winona County, Minnesota, USA. Carbonates and Evaporites 25(4):333–347.