Current Graduate Students

Jay Beugly

JayMy current research is looking at how the increasing demand for biofuels may impact stream fish communities. I am focusing primarily in the eastern Corn Belt Region where shifts in traditional agriculture are taking place. I am sampling drainage basins where there are large areas under traditional crop rotation patterns and basins where the agriculture is corn only. In addition, I am looking at dispersal patterns, habitat preferences, and temporal shifts in stream fish communities.



Alison Coulter

ACoulter2I am a PhD student from Michigan in the environmental science and engineering interdepartmental graduate program. I have a B.S. in zoology from Michigan State University with a marine biology concentration and an M.S. from Central Michigan University in biology. I am interested in stream and community ecology and how they are impacted by the abiotic environment. The movements of fish and influences these movements may have are another area of interest. My work at Purdue will involve monitoring fish movements in the Wabash River using radio transmitters. This will include tracking of the asian carp species, silver and bighead carp, and previously tagged shovelnose sturgeon. The asian carp information will be used to attempt to quantify their habitat use, impacts on native species and to pinpoint their spawning locations. The hope is to eventually expand tracking to other Wabash species.

Conor Keitzer

ConorI am interested in stream ecology and my research will focus on understanding the effects of biodiversity on stream ecosystem function. My research will investigate the effects of plethodontid salamander diversity on headwater stream ecosystems in the southern Appalachians. Plethodontid salamanders are abundant predators in fishless headwater streams and despite their potential importance there have been few empirical studies investigating their role in these ecosystems. I will use a combination of field surveys and experiments to investigate the effects of plethodontid salamanders on nutrient cycles, detrital processing rates, community structure, primary production, and reciprocal subsidies. This information will be used to model potential effects of changes in salamander diversity on headwater stream ecosystems.

Sam Nutile

blankI am interested in fish ecology and my master’s thesis will focus on one species fo the invasive Asian carp, the silver carp (the ones you see on television jumping out of the water as boats drive past). My research at Purdue will focus on methods of control of silver carp, specifically looking at the effects of electroshocking on egg mortality. I also plan to investigate the effects of electroshocking on the porosity of egg membranes to investigate if small doses of rotenone will increase mortality of silver carp eggs.


John Cannaday

JCannadayI am interested in stream ecology, particularly the fish communities that live in them, and the effects that land use practices have on these diverse communities. I have assisted with the monitoring of these communities in areas of bio-fuels growth. In the future, I would like to look at how land managment practices being incorporated today as ways to protect watersheds affect the distribution of species in the streams systems.


Megan Gunn

MGunnI am interested in river and stream ecology! I am specifically concerned with how invasive species such as round goby may dominate if they move inland from the Great Lakes. Because they are orginally from a marine environment; my research will focus on whether these fish will be able to adapt to higher salinities and what this will means for native species in brackish and marine waters. In the future, I want to focus on working in the marine field primarily with conservation of native species.

Gary Hoover

GHooverI am an undergraduate senior working in Dr. Goforth’s Aquatic Ecology Lab, and I have worked there since my junior year.  My major research interests include stream ecology and animal health, particularly in reference to darters and other small stream fish.  Much of my interest in these subjects stems from a long held interest in aquarium fish, as well as the time spent on a lake during my childhood.  In addition to studying fisheries and aquatic science, I am also in the pre-veterinary program, and intend to go on to veterinary school after graduation.  From here, many career options exist, from working in a small animal clinic to potentially working in aquatic animal health.

Ben Miller

Caleb Rennaker

CRennakerI am interested in river ecology and the effects that created barriers have on movement and recruitment of fish species. I also have interest in water management and hydrology. I have been involved in tracking the movements of shovelnose sturgeon in the Wabash River using implanted underwater acoustic tags. My current future plan is to obtain a position in fisheries biology or management within a federal agency.


Kristen Ruhl

lake freeman-ruhlI am interested in river and stream ecology, and the potential effects on fish assemblages from human interaction. I am also interested in conservation, particularly in marine systems. I have assisted in monitoring fish biodiversity in agricultural streams throughout central Indiana. In the future, I would like to be involved in marine conservation, or study the movements of anadromous fish species in coastal areas.


Former Graduate Students

Lindsey Bock

Lindsey Musky 1Lindsey completed her Masters in Fisheries Science in December 2009. Her masters project focused on the population dynamics and food habits of the shovelnose sturgeon populations in the Wabash River. Lindsey also assessed age and growth of the shovelnose sturgeon population. Lindsey is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University.


Michael Wellman

WellmanBowfinMichael completed his Masters degree in August 2010. His masters project focused on identifying the microhabitat use of shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) on the Wabash River, and quantifying movement activity for tagged sturgeon.

Michael is currently working for Bair, Goodie and Associates, Inc. in New Philadelphia, Ohio, conducting wetland and stream biological assessments throughout Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky for various projects.