Welcome, Rose & Rodrigo!

We’re really thrilled to welcome Rose Mohammadi as a new Ph.D. student in the lab! Rose’s research will focus on how drought affects metacommunity stability, using time-series modeling and field experiments at Chalone Creek, Pinnacles National Park, in the context of our recent NSF CAREER. We extend our warmest welcome to Dr. Rodrigo Sinistro, who just joined the lab as a sabbatical for this upcoming academic year. Rodrigo is a freshwater ecologist from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), specialized in restoration of eutrophic water bodies, and is bringing some planktonic expertise to the salty side of our research program. Welcome, Rose and Rodrigo!

New project on climate-induced phenological mismatches

We just got funding from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Proposition 1 grant program) to assess how climate variability may be altering food-web dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta via phenological mismatches! This is a collaboration with Prof. Stephanie Carlson (co-PI), involving partners at government agencies (USGS & CDFW) and leveraging cool time-series methods on a range of long-term monitoring data sets in the estuary. Postdocs Denise Colombano and Robert Fournier are doing the heavy-lifting. Stay tuned!

New paper on drought & population synchrony

We’re thrilled to announce that the paper “Drought effects on invertebrate metapopulation dynamics and quasi‐extinction risk in an intermittent river network, led by postdoc Romain Sarremejane, was just published in Global Change Biology. We examined how stream invertebrate metapopulations respond to seasonal drying and to supraseasonal drought–and how the latter can synchronize dynamics of some (but not all) species, decreasing their long-term persistence. It was a really fun collaboration with stream ecologists and hydrologists in the UK. Check it out!

Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times Award

Albert got an award for developing a new upper division course on Applied time series analysis for ecology and environmental sciences (ESPM 174A), and instructing it for the first time on Zoom via interactive lectures and computer labs. This course offers a hands-on opportunity for students to learn valuable data analysis skills, apply them to real environmental data sets, and develop a final project based on individual research interests.

Ecological resilience over long timescales

Xavier Benito, postdoc affiliated with the Ruhi Lab based at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), just had his main project paper accepted in Limnology & Oceanography! It’s entitled Ecological resilience in tropical Andean lakes: a paleolimnological perspective, and we show results from a range of time-series methods that allow understanding ecological resilience (and different kinds of community shifts) in lake ecosystems over long timescales. Have a look here!


We’re starting the year with great news: the NSF CAREER proposal “Drought and metacommunity stability in riverine networks” was selected for funding! It focuses on how drought may limit dispersal and synchronize stream communities–directly, and by modifying predator-prey interactions. Exciting field experiments at Pinnacles National Park, labs, and time series modeling ahead! So grateful to supportive mentors and collaborators, my amazing research group, and the very special #BerkeleyFreshwater family!

On the human stabilization of river flows

Postdoc extraordinaire Lise Comte (now faculty at Illinois State University) just got this really nice paper published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, entitled “Human stabilization of river flows is linked with fish invasions across the USA”. In this paper we quantified widespread changes in river flow regimes US-wide, and found that such alteration has favored invasions by filtering specific life-history strategies. Notably, high levels of flow stabilization and propagule pressure interacted: where co-occurring, these two drivers were associated with higher fish invadedness levels than expected based on either of their individual effects alone. Check it out!

Welcome to new lab postdocs Travis Apgar & Robert Fournier!

We’re really excited to welcome two new postdocs in the lab: Drs. Travis Apgar & Robert Fournier. They will work on different aspects of our program at Pinnacles National Park, focused on the effects of seasonal and supraseasonal drying on stream invertebrate communities. Robert is joining us from the University of Arkansas, and Travis from UC Santa Cruz. Welcome to Berkeley!

Biodiversity benefits of restoring wetlands

Hi! I am Zhenhua Sun, visiting Ph.D. student in the lab. During my stay I have been gathering data on water quality and macroinvertebrate community composition in ponds and wetlands across the globe. Our study areas and collaborators span Argentina, Canada, France, Ireland, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the US!

In particular, we are asking whether natural, agricultural, and highway ponds differ in the contributions they make to landscape-scale biodiversity. In turn, this could in stormwater pond design, so that these elements of green infrastructure maximize ecosystem benefits.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming paper on the topic!