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About Yvonne Vadeboncoeur

I research the importance of energy linkages among habitats in freshwater ecosystems. I am especially interested in the function of benthic, or bottom, habitats in both lakes and streams. Ecosystems are mosaics of habitats, and plants and animals function as dynamic links between habitats, participating in and modifying patterns of energy production and transformation.  Understanding the relationships between habitat complexity, organisms, and ecosystem function is critical to conserving aquatic biodiversity, most of which is associated with benthic habitats. The shallow littoral zone at the edges of lakes is much more physically complex than the homogeneous, open water pelagic habitat. Our research examines the role of this structured edge habitat in lake carbon and nutrient dynamics, and the importance of aquatic organisms in maintaining these functions. We use a variety of approaches including broad-scale geographic surveys, laboratory experiments, field experiments, mathematical models, stoichiometric analysis and stable isotope analysis. My lab has quantified benthic algal primary productivity and its importance to food webs in lakes throughout the world. Currently, we have three research sites.  At the North Temperate Lake LTER site in northern Wisconsin, we are examining the role of benthic algae in lake food webs, and how the function of the littoral zone changes across lake-size gradients. This work is in collaboration with Jake Vander Zanden at the Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison and is funded by the National Science Foundation. In Africa, we are looking at interactions between attached algae and herbivorous fish in Lake Tanganyika. The littoral zone of Lake Tanganyika hosts a phenomenal diversity of fish and invertebrates. The benthic algae that support this diversity are incredibly productive, but the water itself is extremely nutrient poor. How can such high productivity and diversity persist in the face of apparent extreme nutrient scarcity? We are using field and lab experiments to test whether grazing fish increase nutrient turnover and nutrient retention in the littoral zone, and consequently whether fish increase the overall productivity of the littoral zone.  This work is conducted in collaboration with the Nyanza project, an international, interdisciplinary NSF REU program on east African lakes spearheaded by the University of Arizona. We also conduct research in the rivers of Ohio, which support some of the highest fish and invertebrate diversity in North America. We are examining the role of habitat complexity in determining the distribution of rare and common darters (a group of small benthic fishes) in Big Darby Creek. Overall, our research seeks to contribute to a synthetic understanding of the importance of both physical and biological complexity to ecosystem function.

Positions

2015 - Present Professor, Biological Sciences, Wright State University Biological Sciences
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2008 - 2015 Associate Professor, Wright State University Biological Sciences
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2003 - 2008 Assistant Professor, Wright State University Biological Sciences
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2002 - 2003 Assistant Scientist, Iowa State University ‐ Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
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2000 - 2002 GRIL Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University ‐ Biology
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1998 - 1999 NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark
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Curriculum Vitae




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Education

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1998 PhD, University of Notre Dame ‐ Aquatic Ecology
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1988 M.A., University of Montana, Missoula ‐ Zoology
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1983 B.A., University of Montana, Missoula ‐ Zoology
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Contact Information

Biological Sciences Bldg 226
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435-0001


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Articles (33)