The aquatic ecology program studies freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems. Research interests are focused on investigating relationships between water quality, physical habitat, population biology, community ecology, and ecosystem dynamics. Additionally, our Aquatic Ecology lab specializes in monitoring and assessment of Alaska’s waters and diatom and benthic macroinvertebrate processing and identification.
Recent work includes modeling stream temperatures, investigating relationship between temperature and hydrology and their effect on salmon populations; documenting juvenile salmon diets during their freshwater and estuarine life stages, cataloging diversity of stream biological communities, and surveying the spread of freshwater invasive species. We are also actively involved in characterizing baseline conditions of water quality and physical habitat for freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands across the state of Alaska. Our organization also hosts the Alaska Online Aquatic Temperature Site (AKOATS) database, which is a repository of metadata and data for water temperature monitoring sites in Alaska.
Research Focal Areas
Leslie Jones, Ph.D.
Lead Aquatic Ecologist | 907-786-6384 | lajones12 (at) alaska.edu
Leslie received B.S. degrees in Statistics and Environmental Science from North Carolina State University, an M.S. degree in Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University, and a Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from University of Montana. Leslie’s research interests are using computational ecology to understand relationships between climate, biophysical processes, and the landscape. Recent work focuses on how these relationships create suitable freshwater habitat for salmonids and how habitat diversity supports population abundance, productivity, habitat use, and phenology of freshwater organisms.
Dan Bogan, M.S.
Aquatic Ecologist | 907-786-4964 | dlbogan (at) alaska.edu
Dan Bogan earned a B.A. in Botany and a M.S. in Environmental Science from Miami University. Dan’s research focuses on biological water quality monitoring using diatom and macroinvertebrate community assemblages. He is also actively involved with tribal watershed and water quality education and training programs.
Assistant Aquatic Ecologist | 907-786-6979 | dwmerrigan (at) alaska.edu
Dustin has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Alaska Pacific University. Dustin’s research interests are surveying and mapping freshwater habitats to examine juvenile coho salmon diets and macroinvertebrate communities. Most of his work involves aquatic invertebrate taxonomy and geographic information systems.
Becky Shaftel, M.S.
Aquatic Ecologist | 907-786-4965 | rsshaftel (at) alaska.edu
Rebecca has a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a M.S. from Baylor University. Becky’s research interests are understanding drivers of aquatic species diversity and distributions in freshwater habitats. Her research focuses on modeling macroinvertebrate, diatom, and fish communities and investigating their relationships to physical habitat and water quality.