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StreamCLIMES is a collaborative research project with Michael Bogan at the University of Arizona, Katie Costigan at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Meryl Mims at Virginia Tech, Ben Ruddell and Abe Springer at Northern Arizona University, Albert Ruhi at the University of California Berkeley, Robert Pastel at Michigan Tech University, and Tom Neeson and Yang Hong at the University of Oklahoma.

Together we will conduct one of the first coordinated projects to investigate how drying affects stream ecosystems in different climates across the southern half of the US.  The work includes a significant field based component that integrates NEON stream research sites, where we will document the biodiversity, food web structure, and genetic connectivity of stream benthic invertebrate communities at perennial (continuously flowing) and intermittent (non-continuously flowing) stream sites.  We will also develop a smartphone app designed for researchers and citizen scientists to map wet and dry reaches of streams and rivers.  Later phases will include developing hydrological models that will predict stream drying patterns in the study river systems under different climate scenarios including climate oscillations and climate change, and spatial ecological models that will integrate field-collected data and hydrological model outputs to project how stream ecosystems will respond to large scale climate variability. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Macrosystem Biology program and will run from 2019-2023.


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The Dry Rivers Research Coordination Network is a network of ecologists and hydrologists who study streams. The DryRiversRCN will focus on advancing our understanding of “intermittent” rivers and streams, those which stop flowing or completely dry at some point in time. Historically these rivers and streams have been understudied or even ignored by researchers, but research has begun to show that the hydrology and ecology of intermittent rivers are very different from rivers that always flow. This means our current scientific understanding of streams and rivers is not accurate, as is biased towards the half of the Earth’s rivers that continuously flow and against the half that do not. We will organize a series of expert workgroups that will synthesize the growing body of research on intermittent river hydrology and ecology.

Collaborators on this project include Katie Costigan, Kate Boersma, Michael Bogan, Thibault Datry, Ken Fritz, Sarah Godsey, Stephanie Kampf, Meryl Mims, Julian Olden, Albert Ruhi, Adam Ward, Margaret Zimmer, Emily Bernhardt, Walter Dodds, Jay Jones, and others. You can follow us on twitter @DryRiversRCN. This project is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation Divisions of Biology and Geosciences and will run from 2018-2022.


Surveys for non-native crayfish in southeastern Oklahoma

Crayfish are large-bodied benthic omnivores that are ecologically important components to both lentic and lotic ecosystems.  Crayfish are also among the most notorious invasive aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems and have been reported not only to displace native crayfish species but also to impact other aquatic organisms, including fish. We will determine the current distribution and population status of native and invasive crayfish species in southeastern Oklahoma rivers where sportfish (i.e. smallmouth bass and other sunfishes) depend on crayfish as a substantial part of their diet. We will conduct surveys for native and invasive crayfishes in 80 sites in the Kiamichi, Little, Glover and Mountain Fork Rivers. From these surveys, we will identify areas where invasive crayfish coexist with native crayfish. Second, we will conduct a comparative field study at 12 study sites that span a natural gradient of invasive crayfish densities to investigate diets of native and invasive crayfish species using stable isotopes. This project is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and will run from 2019-2022.

 The red swamp crayfish,  Procambarus clarkii , is native to a small area of southeastern Oklahoma (downstream portions of the Little River). This species is well known to displace native crayfish when introduced to new regions, and its current range in Oklahoma may have expanded due to unintentional inter-basin translocations (e.g. release of bait by fishers).

The red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, is native to a small area of southeastern Oklahoma (downstream portions of the Little River). This species is well known to displace native crayfish when introduced to new regions, and its current range in Oklahoma may have expanded due to unintentional inter-basin translocations (e.g. release of bait by fishers).


The Hunt for the Ozark Emerald

The Ozark Emerald (Somatochlora ozarkensis) a regionally endemic dragonfly and identified as a Tier II species of greatest conservation need by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. We will conduct adult surveys and aquatic macroinvertebrate sampling with the primary focus being the discovery of Ozark Emerald larvae, which are unknown from the wild. Sampling will help determine the habitat of larval Ozark Emeralds and what macroinvertebrate species co-occur with them. We also will survey crayfish communities at the study sites, with special attention toward the Kiamichi Crayfish (Orconectes saxatilis), a Tier I species, and the Mena and Ouachita Mountain Crayfish (O. menaeand Procambarus tenuis), both Tier II species. Second, we will compile crayfish data from previous research projects in the Ouachita Mountains/West Gulf Coastal Plain Region. Allen Lab postdoc Dr. Daniel Nelson will be leading this project, and odonate specialist Brenda Smith from the Oklahoma Biological Survey is also a co-PI on the project. This project is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and will run from 2018-2021.

 Ozark Emerald,  Somatochlora ozarkensis

Ozark Emerald, Somatochlora ozarkensis


Chasing the Peppered Shiner

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has identified the Peppered Shiner, Notropis perpallidus, as a Tier I species of greatest conservation need.  This is a very rare species restricted to a relatively small geographic region in a few rivers in the south-central United States, and it has not been collected in Oklahoma since 1991. Here we will collaborate with Dr. Bill Matthews, renowned fish ecologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, to conduct targeted surveys for Peppered Shiner in the Kiamichi, Little, Glover, and Mountain Fork Rivers in southeast Oklahoma. This project is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and will run from 2018-2020.

 Peppered shiner,  Notoropis perpallidus

Peppered shiner, Notoropis perpallidus