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TIBS Research Crew


John M. Farrell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor | TIBS Director

My interests revolve around the broad topic of aquatic ecology and management of aquatic resources. I am interested in understanding the structure and function of aquatic systems and applying that information to informed management applications. I have largely dedicated my research effort to investigate problems regarding the St. Lawrence River. This commitment involves important research on the effects of environmental change, both biotic and abiotic, and exploitation of fishery resources on a major north-temperate river ecosystem. My work on the St. Lawrence has focused on fish ecology and coastal wetland ecology. I have developed standardized monitoring databases of value in assessing nearshore and pelagic processes and fish population trends useful for assessing research needs and investigating change. My interest and concentration on fish and their habitats has led the program in many directions including early life history, population ecology, disease, species interactions, physiology and energetics, habitat restoration, and management.

Nathan Allen Satre, M.Sc.
Senior Research Support Specialist | TIBS Lab Manager

Nathan joined TIBS in January 2016 after having recently completed his masters from the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada. There he focused on using habitat variables to explain and predict various metrics of fisheries productivity in reservoirs. Nathan’s study location was in southeastern Manitoba, near his home state of Minnesota. Nathan got his start in fisheries at South Dakota State University where he majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and minored in Botany and Biology. He worked several years as a seasonal fisheries technician for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks in the Sioux Falls and Pierre regions. Upon graduation, Nathan accepted a full-time position with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Jamestown, North Dakota as a Wetlands Resource Conservationist, where he worked to identify, delineate and restore wetlands in the prairie pothole region. Nathan’s interests involve fisheries productivity especially as they relate to habitat enhancement and food security.

John Paul Leblanc, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Current Graduate Students

Jessica Goretzke
M.S. Candidate

Fish and plant community response to habitat restoration in the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River and the development of restoration techniques for the establishment of beneficial species of submersed aquatic vegetation.

Benjamin Gallo
M.S. Candidate

Ben's research focuses on the fish gut microbiome and how it is shaped by the fishes environment. He will principally examine the gut microbiomes of Age-0 Northern Pike (E. lucius) from different spawning locations to determine the effect spawning site has on the inoculation and subsequent composition of the fishes gut microbiota.

Katherine Abbott
Ph.D. Candidate

Kate's research focuses on the ongoing restoration of native muskellunge to the upper St. Lawrence River. The objectives of this research are to 1) evaluate short- and long-term spawning site re-introduction success, 2) develop and apply eDNA methods for muskellunge population assessments, 3) elucidate interactions between round goby and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv), and 4) determine immune response of muskellunge to VHSv exposure. Through this research, Kate aims to develop a better understanding of causative agents in population decline and risks to recovery.

Alex Kua
M.S. Candidate

Alex Kua joined the Stella Lab and TIBS Lab in the Autumn of 2017 after graduating from the Ohio State University with a major in Evolution and Ecology and a minor in Classics. Alex completed an undergraduate honors research thesis on “Water warming effects on the behavior of the African cichlid, Julidochromis ornatus” at the Ludsin Lab and Hamilton Lab. Prior to starting his graduate studies at SUNY-ESF, Alex worked at the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory as the head technician for a project working on the quantification of cyanotoxin levels in fish from Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys. For his Masters research, Alex is studying the effects of water regulation changes on aquatic wetland community of the St. Lawrence River at the Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS) following the implementation of Plan 2014. The main objectives of the study will focus on the hydrologic fluctuation effects on muskrat occupancy and the subsequent interactive effects of muskrat disturbances on the aquatic community. This project will be done with field data collected by Alex and other past and present members of the TIBS Lab.

Anna Conklyn
M.S. Candidate

Geofrey E. Eckerlin
Ph.D. Candidate

Geofrey E. Eckerlin started working in aquatic ecology while earning an AAS at SUNY Morrisville in Aquaculture and Aquatic Science (1999). Afterward, Geof studied Natural Resources Management at Cornell University (2001) and graduated to conducting fisheries research on the Hudson River and Lake Ontario with Cornell University (United States Geological Survey Cooperative Fisheries Unit, Natural Resources and the Center for the Environment) and the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Projects Geof spearheaded include a biological impact assessment in the post-9/11 NY-Harbor and a functional assessment of the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) over the length of the Hudson River. At TIBS, Geof is focusing on the interplay of the invasive round goby -highly abundant and susceptible to the invasive viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv)- and the economically and socially important smallmouth bass population in the St. Lawrence. Smallmouth in the Great Lakes have discovered round goby as desirable food items and are thusly confronted with a tradeoff between an abundant protein source and risks incurred by high exposure to VHSv. This work is funded by New York Sea Grant and the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Program administered by the New York State DEC.

Ben Amos
M.S. Candidate

Ben’s aquatic ecology career started with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University (2013).  His interests in the restoration and enhancement of native fishes lead him to graduate education at ESF with the opportunity to study large river ecology in the Thousand Islands. His research is focused on spawning habitat shifts in sport fish, notably northern pike, due to water level management on the St. Lawrence River.  Through trace element analysis of the otoliths (earstones) of spawning and juvenile fish, he hopes to determine how current water regulations are influencing spawning site selection.  He hopes his work will prove valuable in influencing future water regulation decisions.

Mark Leopold
M.S. Candidate

Do fish population gonadal properties (e.g sex ratio, fecundity, testis and sperm density) differ among populations with differing stressors and history of management? Mark Leopold is examining these questions by comparing gonadal demographics among four northern pike populations in Northern New York including the St. Lawrence River. Can complex reproductive feedbacks occur in response to exploitation history? All Mark's sampling occurred during pre-spawning using ice-fishing techniques; preliminary findings show marked differences in sex-ratio with female dominance occurring in some populations and a near 50:50 ratio in others.

Faculty Collaborators

Donald J. Leopold Distinguished Teaching Professor,  SUNY-ESF (Wetlands)
Kimberly L. Schulz Associate Professor, SUNY-ESF (Limnology)
Mark Teece Associate Professor, SUNY-ESF (Chemistry)
James Gibbs Associate Professor, SUNY-ESF (Conservation Biology)
Kevin L. Kapuscinski Adjunct Professor, SUNY-ESF (Fish Ecology)
Greg Boyer Professor of Biochemistry SUNY-ESF (Chemistry) and Director, Great Lakes Research Consortium
Myron Mitchell Professor, SUNY-ESF (Biogeochemistry)

Graduate Student Alumni

Ericka Augustyn, MS (completed 11/2017) Larval Northern Pike (Esox lucius) Ecology in Natural and Restored Coastal Wetlands of the Upper St. Lawrence River.

Kelly Huffman, MPS (completed 6/2016) Northern Pike: Genetic and Experimental Study of Sex Ratio Imbalance in Upper St. Lawrence River.

Andrew Miano, MS (completed 11/2015) Invasive Round Goby Diet Patterns and Egg Predation on Broadcast Spawning Fishes in Upper St. Lawrence River Coastal Habitats.

Derek Crane, PhD (completed 5/2013) Reproductive ecology of native predatory fishes and body condition responses to invasive round goby in the lower Great Lakes and connecting channels.

Christina Killourhy, MS (completed 5/2013) Predation on centrarchid nests in the St. Lawrence River following introduction of the round goby (Neostomus melanostomus).

Kat DeVilbiss, MS (completed 5/2013) Responses of esocid fishes to warming temperatures: laboratory experimentation on species metabolic rates.

Brian Henning, MS (completed 5/2012) Nearshore fish assemblage structure and habitat relationships in protected and open habitats in the upper St. Lawrence River.

Kevin L. Kapuscinski, PhD (completed 5/2011) Comparative ecology of muskellunge and nearshore fish assemblages in the Great Lakes.

Jarrod Hughes, MPS (completed 05/2009), Restoration, improvement and creation of critical life stage habitats of muskellunge, northern pike and walleye.

Katie L. Woodside, MS (completed 05/2009), Development and validation of a logistic regression model predicting young-of-the-year (YOY) muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) presence/absence on the basis of available habitat features in the upper St. Lawrence River. Resume

Brian Kelder, MS (completed 12/2008), Spawning habitat use by walleye (Sander vitreus) in tributaries of eastern Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River.

Brent Murry, PhD (completed 12/2006), Early life history and community structure of large river fishes.

Jason A. Toner, MS (completed 5/2006), Muskrat house abundance and cattail use in the upper St. Lawrence River: modeling the effects of water level regulation.

Tom Hughes, MPS (completed 12/2005), Managment of walleye in Eastern Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Aaron D. Bosworth, MS (completed 8/2004), Northern pike spawning strategy in the upper St. Lawrence River: empirical evidence using microsatellite markers.

Molly Beland (Rippke), MS (completed 12/2003), Holocene vegetation dynamics of an upper St. Lawrence River coastal wetland and surrounding uplands: effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance.

Molly A. Connerton, MS (completed 5/2003), Double crested cormorant predation on northern pike in the Eastern basin of Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River.