Aquatic & Landscape Ecology Research Team (FRESC)

Science Center Objects

Fresh waters are one of the most valuable and threatened resources worldwide. They supply critical services to society and harbor many of the world’s most imperiled species. We conduct research and provide technical assistance to address challenges to fresh waters. Our research focuses on ecological processes in freshwater and terrestrial systems and the effects of those processes on landscape pattern. The research includes geospatial approaches from landscape ecology and geography, such as remote sensing, spatial analysis, and geographical information systems (GIS). We study a wide range of ecosystems, from small streams to large rivers and major lake ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Principal Investigators

Jason Dunham Supervisory Research Ecologist & Christian Torgersen - Supervisory Research Landscape Ecologist

Federal Staff

Joe Benjamin - Ecologist

Mike Heck - Fisheries Biologist

Nate Chelgren - Wildlife Biologist

Dave Hockman-Wert - Biologist

Francine Mejia - Research Ecologist


Jeremy Cram - WA Dept. Fish & Wildlife - Research Scientist (PhD Graduate Student)

Josh Kubo - Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department - Salmon Recovery Scientist (PhD Graduate Student)

Benjamin Dittbrenner - Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department - Independent Contractor (PhD Graduate Student)

Ronald Wiedmer - PhD Graduate Student


Alex Thomas: Ecologist and Independent Contractor (2012-2013), Multivariate analysis of zooplankton assemblages in Mt. Rainier National Park

James Starr: MS student (2009-2012), Mountain whitefish distribution and habitat associations

Audrey Taylor: Postdoc (2009-2011), Shorebird ecology and monitoring; integrated landscape monitoring

Josh Kubo: MS student (2009-2011), Aquatic insect assemblages in alpine streams

Katie Klett, nee Murray: MS student (2009-2010), Airborne mapping of salmon redd distribution

Ryan Klett: MS student (2008-2011), Spatial patterns of fine sediment infiltration in the Yakima River

Aaron Ruesch: MS student (2008-2011), Climate change and water temperature in stream networks

Jason Walter: MS student (2007-2012), Cutthroat trout distribution in headwater stream networks

Anne Weekes: Postdoc (2007-2011), Geohydrology of glaciated alpine headwaters

Tracy Kugler: Ecologist (2007-2009), Integrated landscape monitoring

Tyler Bax: MS student (2007-2008), Watershed classification of headwater catchments

Ethan Welty: Geographer (2006-2011), Riverscape mapping and analysis

Karen Hutten: PhD student (2007-2015), Landscape disturbance on the Olympic Peninsula

Susan Priest: Student Intern in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) (2014), Using beavers to restore headwaters in the Skykomish River watershed, WA

David Bailey: Student Intern in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) (2014), The Beaver Project: Experiences of a USGS SISNAR intern

David Hagopian: Student Intern in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) (2015), Effects of beaver reintroductions on large woody in headwater streams in the Skykomish River watershed, WA

Samantha Greene: Postdoc (2014-2015), Effects of thinning in riparian forests on stream temperature

Nicoleta Cristea: Contractor (2013-2015), Thermal IR remote sensing of rivers on the Olympic Peninsula, WA

Aimee Fullerton: PhD student (2011-2016), Thermal heterogeneity and salmon in Pacific Northwest rivers