Teresa Newton holds a B.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University, and M.S. in Biology from Tennessee Technological University, and a PhD in Fisheries Biology and Toxicology from Iowa State University
Teresa's research interests focus on the conservation and ecology of freshwater mussels, a group of benthic animals in which 70% of the North American species are threatened. Mussels are keystone species in many rivers and their catastrophic decline may lead to the decline of other faunal groups and the alteration of ecosystem processes. Teresa uses a combination of comparative and experimental approaches to understand factors affecting the distribution and abundance of freshwater mussels and to determine the roles that mussels may play in large river food webs. Teresa also investigates the ecotoxicological effects of aquatic contaminants on freshwater mussels and is especially interested in developing sub-lethal endpoints of exposure. Teresa manages a native mussel team at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, WI. The team's is currently focused on (1) understanding factors limiting the distribution, abundance, and species richness of mussels in large rivers, (2) using hydrophysical models to identify locations of patches and features of suitable habitat for mussels in the Upper Mississippi River, (3) measuring a suite of population vital rates (e.g., survival, growth. recruitment) to assess the viability of mussels within these patches, (4) developing sampling designs to estimate mussel abundances associated with habitat restoration projects, and (5) quantifying spatial patterns of adult and juvenile mussels across multiple scales in the Upper Mississippi River.