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Interdisciplinary Water Resources Seminar

December 3, 2012

Monday, December 3
4 p.m.
Natural Resources Building, Room 109

Speaker: LeRoy Poff, Professor, Biology

LeRoy Poff is a professor of biology who teaches courses in aquatic ecology, trains and mentors graduate students, and conducts externally-funded research on aquatic and riparian ecosystems in diverse settings, including Colorado, Australia, and Ecuador. Since receiving his doctorate in 1989, he has oriented his research on the ecological consequences of how natural and human-caused hydrologic variability regulates the interactions among species and the structure and function of riverine ecosystems. His work is intentionally interdisciplinary and has contributed directly to the development of the science of environmental flows, which aims to support sustainable management of streams and rivers at local to regional to global scales in the face of competing water demands. He is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher, a former president of the Society of Freshwater Science, an Aldo Leopold Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, a co-PI on the CSU’s WATER IGERT, and Director of CSU’s graduate degree program in Ecology.

Graduate Student Speaker: Ryan McShane

Ryan McShane received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and worked as a fishery biologist in Nevada, studying the effects of hydrologic alteration and invasive species on aquatic species of concern. He pursued a master's at New Mexico State University, researching the competitive interactions of native and non-native fishes and their effects on food webs in intermittent streams. His doctoral research focuses on applying hydro-geomorphic disturbance regimes in rivers to distribution models of aquatic and riparian species in the western US, and using water infrastructure to manage the effect of climate change on species distribution.

Monday's lecture

The topic for Monday's lecture is "Using Environmental Flows to Stem Species Invasion of Western Rivers in a Period of Rapid Climate Change?"

Alteration of natural flows modifies ecological processes and habitats in rivers and acts to change the balance of which aquatic and riparian species thrive. Many non-native and invasive species have flourished under these altered regimes, and now with climate change, biological reorganization of river ecosystems is likely to be exacerbated. Understanding how climate change will promote the spread of invasive species in hydrologically-altered river networks requires mechanistic-based biological models to link the population success of species to key characteristics of the riverine habitats that they occupy.

We will discuss a proof-of-concept research project underway in the upper Green River in Wyoming, where we combine a watershed hydrology model with GIS-derived measures of valley bottom geomorphology to model hydrologic/hydraulic and biological responses to downscaled climate futures. We show that climate change is likely to have substantial effects on the ecologically relevant hydrology in the upper Green River watershed and thus influence the expansion of invasive species. We also explore how existing, spatially-distributed water infrastructure may be operated to potentially reduce the hydro-geomorphic suitability of portions of the river network to invasive species under different climate futures. We discuss the general utility of our approach for conservation-informed river management under rapid climate change.

If you have any questions, please contact Reagan Waskom.The lecture schedule can be viewed on the CWI website.

Sponsored by CSU Water Center & School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

Contact: Nancy Grice
Phone: (970) 491-6724