Community ecology of fish, Food web dynamics, Anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function, Invasive species
My research program seeks to better understand the role of ecological processes in shaping fish distribution and population characteristics, habitat requirements of fish, and evolutionary adaptations of aquatic organisms in response to environmental gradients. Specifically, I focus on three drivers of fish communities and populations: (1) aquatic thermal regimes, (2) Arctic landscapes dynamics, and (3) invasive species.
Currently, we lack a robust understanding of how these processes influence fish communities in high-latitude ecosystems for which information is critical to inform management and policy decisions due to a rapidly changing landscape from natural and human pressures. To understand processes that influence fish communities in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems, my research program combines field monitoring, large-scale comparative studies, simulation modeling, and experiments at multiple spatial and temporal scales and results of these studies are used to guide conservation, protection, and management of fish and fish habitats throughout the North Pacific Rim and Alaska.
2012 - Present Research Fishery Biologist, USGS, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska
2009 - 2012 Research Associate of the National Research Council, NOAA Fisheries,
Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA
2003 - 2009 Research Assistant, Illinois Natural History Survey
1999 - 2002 Research Assistant, Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research
Unit USGS-BRD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
1998 Fisheries Technician, U.S. Forest Service, Payette National Forest,
1996-1997 Biological Technician, Trout Lake Field Station, Northern Temperate Lakes
LTER, Boulder Junction, WI
1996 NSF Research experience for Undergraduates fellowship, Trout Lake Field Station,
North Temperate Lakes LTER, Boulder Junction, WI
Education and Certifications
Ph.D. 2009 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
M.S. 2002 University of Massachusetts-Amherst Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation
B.S. 1997 University of Wisconsin-Madison Zoology
Affiliations and Memberships*
American Fisheries Society
Ecological Society of America, Aquatic Section
Science and Products
Tracing Mercury Through Lake Food Webs
The Rusting of Arctic Rivers: Freshwater Ecosystems Respond to Rapidly Uptaking Metals
Q&A: Arctic Rivers Project
Beavers Impacting Tundra Ecosystems (BITE)
Winter Habitat of Juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River
Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Ecology
Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web Interactions
Sockeye Salmon Migrating at the Northern Edge of Their Distribution
Assessing heat stress in migrating Yukon River Chinook Salmon
Fish and Aquatic Ecology
Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Hydrology
Limnological Data from Experimental Exposure of Juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) to Elodea in a High Latitude Lake
Nearshore Fish Isotope Values, Beaufort Sea, Alaska, 2017-2019
Stream and River Chemistry in Watersheds of Northwestern Alaska, 2015-2019
Stream Temperatures in the Noatak River and Kobuk River Basins, Northwest Alaska, 2017 - 2019
Continuous Records of Shallow Soil Temperature and Moisture in the Noatak River Basin, Alaska
Meteorological Data from Two Locations in the Agashashok River Watershed, Northwestern Alaska, 2015 to 2017
Physical, Hydraulic, and Thermal Properties of Soils in the Noatak River Basin, Alaska, 2016
Water Level, Temperature, and Discharge of Headwater Streams in the Noatak and Kobuk River Basins, Northwest Alaska, 2015 - 2017
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Body Condition and Water Temperature Along the Pilgrim River, Northwestern Alaska, 2013-2016
Carbon Isotope Concentrations in Stream Food Webs of the Arctic Network National Parks, Alaska, 2014-2016
Count of Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), River Temperature, and River Height in the Pilgrim River, Nome, Alaska, 2003-2014
Elodea mediates juvenile salmon growth by altering physical structure in freshwater habitats
How beavers are changing Arctic landscapes and Earth’s climate
Sensitivity of headwater streamflow to thawing permafrost and vegetation change in a warming Arctic
Premature mortality observations among Alaska’s Pacific salmon during record heat and drought in 2019
Multi-year, spatially extensive, watershed-scale synoptic stream chemistry and water quality conditions for six permafrost-underlain Arctic watersheds
Migration strategies supporting salmonids in Arctic Rivers: A case study of Arctic Cisco and Dolly Varden
Egg retention of high-latitude sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Pilgrim River, Alaska, during the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016
Permafrost promotes shallow groundwater flow and warmer headwater streams
A manipulative thermal challenge protocol for adult salmonids in remote field settings
Transcriptomic response to elevated water temperatures in adult migrating Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
Evidence of prevalent heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon
Permafrost hydrology drives the assimilation of old carbon by stream food webs in the Arctic
**Disclaimer: The views expressed in Non-USGS publications are those of the author and do not represent the views of the USGS, Department of the Interior, or the U.S. Government.
Science and Products
Tracing Mercury Through Lake Food WebsMercury concentrations in fish likely reflect different energy sources in lake food webs. Species, populations, or individuals may contain higher and variable concentrations of mercury, which may relate directly to prey mercury content, diets of fish, and fish foraging strategies.
The Rusting of Arctic Rivers: Freshwater Ecosystems Respond to Rapidly Uptaking MetalsThe water quality of streams and rivers in the Arctic is sensitive to rapid climate change and altered disturbance regimes.
Q&A: Arctic Rivers ProjectAlaska is home to numerous cultural and linguistic Indigenous groups and the largest number of Federally Recognized Tribes in the United States. Indigenous Alaskans, often living in rural remote communities, are facing multiple impacts due to climate change. As infrastructure, landscapes, and subsistence resources continue to be impacted by warming temperatures, the safety, well-being, and...
Beavers Impacting Tundra Ecosystems (BITE)The range expansion of the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) has implications for water quality, aquatic ecosystems, and fisheries in Arctic streams.
Winter Habitat of Juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning RiverIn the Arctic, rivers often freeze all the way to the bottom each winter leaving fish with limited habitat where they can survive.
Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): EcologyPermafrost thaw is leading to a myriad of changes in physical and chemical conditions throughout the Arctic.
Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web InteractionsThe potential for invasive species introductions in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems is growing as climate change manifests and human activity increases in high latitudes.
Sockeye Salmon Migrating at the Northern Edge of Their DistributionThe physiological challenge for anadromous fish to migrate upriver to spawn and complete their life cycle is influenced by river temperature.
Assessing heat stress in migrating Yukon River Chinook SalmonWe will examine evidence of heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using heat shock proteins and gene expression.
Fish and Aquatic EcologyFish and aquatic habitats in Alaska support important commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries and provide forage fish that support wildlife populations. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts interdisciplinary research to inform local, state, federal, and international policy makers regarding conservation of fish, aquatic species, and their habitats. We work collaboratively with hydrologists...
Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): HydrologyThe Arctic is warming at higher rates than much of the rest of the world. For Alaska, this results in changes in hydrology and ecosystems – permafrost is thawing, changing landscapes and releasing nutrients to soils and streams.
Limnological Data from Experimental Exposure of Juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) to Elodea in a High Latitude LakeThis dataset provides nine tables of data from an experimental study in which juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) were reared in floating net pens (limnocorrals) and exposed to Elodea spp. (a potential invasive species in high latititude lakes) and native aquatic vegetation. Data include: (1) coho salmon body, otolith, and stable isotope measurements, (2) abundance of macroinvertebrates, (
Nearshore Fish Isotope Values, Beaufort Sea, Alaska, 2017-2019This dataset contains isotope values of muscle tissue from fish collected in the nearshore Beaufort Sea, Alaska in summers 2017-2019.
Stream and River Chemistry in Watersheds of Northwestern Alaska, 2015-2019These data include stream water chemistry from headwater streams to large rivers across three national parks in Arctic Alaska: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Noatak National Preserve.
Stream Temperatures in the Noatak River and Kobuk River Basins, Northwest Alaska, 2017 - 2019This data set includes 15-minute interval data on stream temperature from low-order streams and main-stem rivers in the Noatak and Kobuk River valleys in Northwestern Alaska, collected during the summer months. The water temperatures were determined using a HOBO Water Temp Pro v2 (Onset Computer Corporation, Bourne, MA, USA)with &amp;plusmn;0.2 degrees C accuracy. Sensors were place in several
Continuous Records of Shallow Soil Temperature and Moisture in the Noatak River Basin, AlaskaSoil moisture and temperature were measured at four shallow depths in multiple locations within tundra and forested landscapes of the Agashashok River basin. The measurements were made continuously beginning in 2015 until the most recent download in summer, 2019 or until the sensors or loggers failed.
Meteorological Data from Two Locations in the Agashashok River Watershed, Northwestern Alaska, 2015 to 2017Meteorological data was collected from two locations in the Agashashok River Watershed, one high in the drainage located on tundra (67.5440 N, -161.6828 E) and a second on a rocky knoll near the watershed mouth (67.2821 N, -162.5841 E). The data contain information on air temperatures, rainfall, barometric pressure, relative humidity, incoming and outgoing radiation, and wind speed and direction.
Physical, Hydraulic, and Thermal Properties of Soils in the Noatak River Basin, Alaska, 2016This dataset includes physical, hydraulic, and thermal properties of soils collected in two sub-watersheds in the Noatak River Basin in northwestern Alaska. Physical properties include dry bulk density and porosity. Hydraulic properties include field- and lab-based hydraulic conductivity, soil-water retention data, and parameters used in a common soil-water retention model (van Genuchten model). T
Water Level, Temperature, and Discharge of Headwater Streams in the Noatak and Kobuk River Basins, Northwest Alaska, 2015 - 2017This data set includes 15-minute interval data on stream temperature, stage, and discharge from low-order streams in the Noatak and Kobuk River valleys in Northwestern Alaska, collected during the summer months. Several sites in the Agashashok River basin were monitored in 2015 and 2016, and additional sites were added in 2017. The depth of the water and temperature were determined using a combine
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Body Condition and Water Temperature Along the Pilgrim River, Northwestern Alaska, 2013-2016This data set is four spreadsheets with: 1) the body condition and egg counts of Sockeye Salmon captured at several sites along the Pilgrim River 2013-2016, 2) water temperature from 10 automated temperature dataloggers during the summers of 2013-2016, 3) results from an experiment to determine the effect of elevated water temperature on levels of Heat Shock Protein (HSP70) in captive juvenile Soc
Carbon Isotope Concentrations in Stream Food Webs of the Arctic Network National Parks, Alaska, 2014-2016This dataset includes information on the carbon samples that were collected from organic and mineral soils, streams, algae, invertebrates, and fish in the Arctic Network Parks. Carbon cycling in the Arctic is likely influenced by permafrost, which impacts hydrology and the movement of solutes including carbon between soils and stream ecosystems. These samples were collected in order to understa
Count of Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), River Temperature, and River Height in the Pilgrim River, Nome, Alaska, 2003-2014The dataset is the daily count of Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) passing through a fish counting weir on the Pilgrim River from 2003 to 2014. Also, included in the data set is the daily temperature and river height measured at the weir (65.103071&amp;amp;deg;, -164.824046&amp;amp;deg;).The fish weir was operated during the summer (late June to mid-September) by the Norton Sound Econom
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Elodea mediates juvenile salmon growth by altering physical structure in freshwater habitatsInvasive species introductions in high latitudes are accelerating and elevating the need to address questions of their effects on Subarctic and Arctic ecosystems. As a driver of ecosystem function, submerged aquatic vegetation is one of the most deleterious biological invasions to aquatic food webs. The aquatic plant Elodea spp. has potential to be a widespread invader to Arctic and Subarctic ecos
How beavers are changing Arctic landscapes and Earth’s climateBeavers build dams that change the way water moves between streams, lakes, and the land. In Alaska, beavers are moving north from the forests into the Arctic tundra. When beavers build dams in the Arctic, they cause frozen soil, called permafrost, to thaw. Scientists are studying how beavers and the thawing of permafrost are impacting streams and rivers in Alaska’s national parks. For example, per
Sensitivity of headwater streamflow to thawing permafrost and vegetation change in a warming ArcticClimate change has the potential to impact headwater streams in the Arctic by thawing permafrost and subsequently altering hydrologic regimes and vegetation distribution, physiognomy and productivity. Permafrost thaw and increased subsurface flow have been inferred from the chemistry of large rivers, but there is limited empirical evidence of the impacts to headwater streams. Here we demonstrate h
Premature mortality observations among Alaska’s Pacific salmon during record heat and drought in 2019Widespread mortality of Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. returning to spawn in Alaska coincided with record-breaking air temperatures and prolonged drought in summer 2019. Extreme environmental conditions are expected to happen more frequently with rapid climate change and challenge the notion that Alaska could indefinitely provide abundant, cool freshwater habitat for Pacific salmon. A total of 1
Multi-year, spatially extensive, watershed-scale synoptic stream chemistry and water quality conditions for six permafrost-underlain Arctic watershedsRepeated sampling of spatially distributed river chemistry can be used to assess the location, scale, and persistence of carbon and nutrient contributions to watershed exports. Here, we provide a comprehensive set of water chemistry measurements and ecohydrological metrics describing the biogeochemical conditions of permafrost-affected Arctic watersheds. These data were collected in watershed-wide
Migration strategies supporting salmonids in Arctic Rivers: A case study of Arctic Cisco and Dolly VardenAmphidromous fish such as Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) and Arctic Cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) have distinct life histories that facilitate their success in Arctic environments. Both species spawn in freshwater and make annual migrations between marine, brackish, or freshwater environments. Dolly Varden rear for one or more years in freshwater before migrating to sea whereas Arctic Cisco migrat
Egg retention of high-latitude sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Pilgrim River, Alaska, during the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016Ocean and freshwater conditions can influence spawning success of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) by governing the energy content of fish at the start of and during the spawning migration. Ocean conditions determine the energy stores of fish at the freshwater entry, while freshwater conditions determine how quickly stored energy is depleted as individuals migrate to spawning grounds in natal ri
Permafrost promotes shallow groundwater flow and warmer headwater streamsThe presence of permafrost influences the flow paths of water through Arctic landscapes and thereby has the potential to impact stream discharge and thermal regimes. Observations from eleven headwater streams in Alaska showed that July water temperatures were higher in catchments with more near‐surface permafrost. We apply a fully coupled cryohydrology model to investigate if the impact of permafr
A manipulative thermal challenge protocol for adult salmonids in remote field settingsManipulative experiments provide stronger evidence for identifying cause-and-effect relationships than correlative studies, but protocols for implementing temperature manipulations are lacking for large species in remote settings. We developed an experimental protocol for holding adult Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and exposing them to elevated temperature treatments. The goal of the e
Transcriptomic response to elevated water temperatures in adult migrating Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) declines are widespread and may be attributed, at least in part, to warming river temperatures. Water temperatures in the Yukon River and tributaries often exceed 18°C, a threshold commonly associated with heat stress and elevated mortality in Pacific salmon. Untangling the complex web of direct and indirect physiological effects of heat stress on salmon i
Evidence of prevalent heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmonMigrating adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) are sensitive to warm water (>18 °C), with a range of consequences from decreased spawning success to early mortality. We examined the proportion of Yukon River Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) exhibiting evidence of heat stress to assess the potential that high temperatures contribute to freshwater adult mortality in a northern Pacific salmon popu
Permafrost hydrology drives the assimilation of old carbon by stream food webs in the ArcticPermafrost thaw in the Arctic is mobilizing old carbon (C) from soils to aquatic ecosystems and the atmosphere. Little is known, however, about the assimilation of old C by aquatic food webs in Arctic watersheds. Here, we used C isotopes (δ13C, Δ14C) to quantify C assimilation by biota across 12 streams in arctic Alaska. Streams spanned watersheds with varying permafrost hydrology, from ice-poor b
Non-USGS Publications**Carey, M.P., P.S. Levin, H. Townsend, T.J. Minello, G.R. Sutton, T.B. Francis, C.J. Harvey, J.E. Toft, K. K. Arkema, J.L. Burke, C.K. Kim, A.D. Guerry, M. Plummer, G. Spiridonov, and M. Ruckelshaus. 2014. Characterizing coastal food webs with qualitative links to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of ecosystem based management. ICES Journal of Marine Science: 71 (3): 713-724. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fst012.Toft, J. E., J. L. Burke, M. P. Carey, C. K. Kim, G. Spiridonov, M. Marsik, D. A. Sutherland, K. K. Arkema, A. D. Guerry, P. S. Levin, T. J. Minello, M. Plummer, M. H. Ruckelshaus and H. M. Townsend. 2014. From mountains to sound: Modelling the sensitivity of Dungeness crab and Pacific oyster to land-sea interactions in Hood Canal, WA. ICES Journal of Marine Science: 71 (3): 725-738. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fst072.Carey, M.P., B.L. Sanderson, K.A. Barnas, and J.D. Olden. 2012. Native invaders – challenges for science, management, policy, and society. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 10(7): 373–381. doi:10.1890/110060Carey, M.P., B.L. Sanderson, T.A. Friesen, K.A. Barnas, and J.D. Olden. 2011. Smallmouth Bass in the Pacific Northwest: A Threat to Native Species, a Benefit for Anglers. Reviews in Fisheries Science 19(3): 305-315. doi:10.1080/10641262.2011.598584Carey, M.P. and D. H. Wahl. 2011. Foraging modes of predators and behaviors of prey determine the outcome of multiple predator interactions. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140: 1015-1022. doi:10.1080/00028487.2011.603983Vanlandeghem, M., M.P. Carey, and D.H. Wahl. 2011. Turbidity-induced changes in emergent effects of multiple predators with different foraging strategies. Ecology of Freshwater 20: 279–286. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.2011.00494.xCarey, M.P. and D. H. Wahl. 2011. Fish diversity as a determinant of ecosystem properties across multiple trophic levels. Oikos 120: 84–94. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18352.xCarey, M. P. and D. H. Wahl. 2011. Determining the mechanism by which fish diversity influences production. Oecologia 167:189-198. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-1967-3Carey, M. P. and D. H. Wahl. 2010. Native fish diversity alters the effects of an invasive species on food webs. Ecology 91(10):2965-2974. doi:10.1890/09-1213.1Carey, M.P., and M.E. Mather. 2008. Tracking change in a human-dominated landscape: developing conservation guidelines using freshwater fish. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18: 877-890.Hrabik, T.R., M. P. Carey, and M.S. Webster. 2001. Interactions between Young-of-the-Year Exotic Rainbow Smelt and Native Yellow Perch in a Northern Temperate Lake. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 130: 568-582. doi:10.1577/1548-8659(2001)130<0568:IBYOTY>2.0.CO;2
**Disclaimer: The views expressed in Non-USGS publications are those of the author and do not represent the views of the USGS, Department of the Interior, or the U.S. Government.
*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government