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Thousand Islands Biological Station
TIBS Research Crew


John M. Farrell, Ph.D.

Professor, Aquatic and Fisheries Science | TIBS Director

John FarrellMy 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.

Robert Weber, M.Sc.

Senior Research Support Specialist | TIBS Lab Manager

Robert Weber joined TIBS as its lab manager in August 2020 after recently completing his B.S. with a focus in Fisheries Ecology and Management from Kansas State University in May 2016, and his M.S. this summer at Iowa State University with research on factors regulating Muskellunge and Walleye populations in central Iowa reservoirs. Through his experience Robert has development expertise in understanding fish movements including passive-integrated transponder arrays and radio-telemetry.

John Paul Leblanc, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Leblanc completed his PhD at McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario Canada, where he examined early-life ecology and habitat-use of northern pike and muskellunge in Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Since 2016, Dr. Leblanc has been investigating strategies and techniques to enhance fish populations in the upper St. Lawrence River impacted by the spread of invasive taxa and degradation of coastal wetland habitat caused by water level regulations. Current research provides valuable information for the adaptive management of fisheries in the St. Lawrence River and to develop restoration strategies resilient to uncertain environmental perturbations.

Current Graduate Students

Anna Conklyn

PhD CandidateEmail

Anna holding a muskyAnna continues her research (with Dr. John Farrell and in collaboration with Dr. Rodman Getchell at the Cornell Veterinary School) on invasive round goby with a goal of understanding its role as a reservoir for VHS and other aspects of their biology including sex ratio, size and age structure. She has expanded her work to test other species as potential viral reservoirs and is examining its prevalence and fish health in multiple common species. Her work is supported by NYS DEC through an Environmental Protection Fund grant.

Iman Pakzad

MS Candidate

Under co-advisement by Drs. Roxanne Razavi and John Farrell, Iman is studying the Great Lake invader Tubenose Goby within the St. Lawrence ecosystem. Iman's graduate research is examining its role in the nearshore food web with diet analyses and stable C/N isotopic signatures to determine its trophic position and food sources. This information is being used in concert with measurements of mercury, a environmental contaminant, and will be compared to levels found in another prolific invader, Round Goby. The research is funded by a Great Lakes Research Consortium grant and by the NYS DEC through an Environmental Protection Fund grant.

Max Wilder

PhD Candidate

Under Dr. Hyatt Green, Max is studying environmental DNA (eDNA) is a method where genetic material that is continually being shed by organisms can be sampled in the environment and detected using molecular tools including primers and amplification. To validate this procedure. With Dr. John Farrell, Max conduced an experiment on muskellunge by measuring DNA shed during the early development, from the embryo through juvenile stage, in controlled conditions. He hopes to apply the method to field sites where sampling of adults and young muskellunge occurs as part of the TIBS program as a validation step.

Katelyn Barhite

MS Candidate

Northern pike have always been a passion of Katelyn's and she joined the ESF graduate program under Dr. John Farrell after serving as the TIBS lab manager. Kateyn is planning research to improve our understanding of year-class formation in pike and how environmental variation is affective natural recruitment to this important predator in the St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

Thornton Ritz

PhD Candidate

After finishing his MS degree at Northern Michigan University on larval burbot ecology, Thornton has joined the TIBS lab under Dr. Farrell with interests in fish movement ecology and spawning phenology in the large river aquascape of the St. Lawrence. He is designing his research following working as a field tech this past summer on the TIBS crew.

Amanda Lemoine

MS Candidate

Amanda worked on the microbial and nutritional mediation of herbivorous fish feeding behavior as an undergraduate at Eastern Connecticut State University. She now has joined the TIBS graduate program under Drs. John Farrell and Brian Leydet to continue novel studies of the fish gut microbiome in the St. Lawrence River.

Faculty Collaborators

Dr. Don Leopold ESF Restoration Science Center
Dr. Brian Leydet Microbiome Study
Dr. Hyatt Green Muskellunge eDNA
Dr. Roxanne Razavi Goby Food Web and Mercury Uptake
Dr. John Stella Muskrat Population and Wetland Disturbance
Dr. Chris Whipps Northern Pike Gender Determination