It is predicted that climate change, which can result in increased temperature, eutrophication (the occurrence of excessive nutrients in a body of water), and changes to freshwater inputs, will alter food web dynamics and consequently the sustainability of fish populations in the Great Lakes, which provide significant multi-national fishery resources. This project evaluates aquatic food web structures as indicators of climate change to determine which fish species are most at risk. Analyses in the study will include 1) examination of the distribution of dominant prey and predator fishes, 2) variability in diet and food web position of fishes related to seasonal-driven habitat changes and 3) seasonal environmental variability as related to long-term climate change. Results will be used to serve management agency needs to adaptively maintain sustainable large lake fisheries.
Richard is currently the station chief and a research fish biologist at Lake Erie Biological Station, part of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center. The mission of the station and the purpose of his research is to support improved fishery resource management in Lake Erie and the other four Laurentian Great Lakes. His primary research interests are the consequences of migration and habitat use to fish population dynamics, species interactions, and resource management. In addition to his current work in large lake ecosystems, he has conducted research in estuary, coral reef, and pelagic ocean ecosystems. He received his Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, and he has a M.S. degree in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary.