Freshwater Ecology Laboratory (FEL)

at the University of Massachusetts Boston


Life History, Ecology, Ecological Stoichiometry, Population Genetics, and Conservation of Freshwater Mussels

Dr. Christian and his lab have been working on the life history, population, community and ecosystem ecology, population genetics, and conservation and management of freshwater mussels, especially federally listed and state listed and special concern species,  since 1992 and this research continues today.   More recently research has focused on paternity, food and feeding using stable isotopes, and ecological stoichiometry and consumer driven nutrient recycling of freshwater mussels.   We collaborate with a variety of scientist on these projects including a current collaboration with Dr. Greg Beck investigating the natural and acquired immunity of host fish in New England Ponds. 


Ecological Stoichiometry, Limnology, Geochemistry, Landscape Ecology,  Paleolimnology, and of Lakes and Ponds

The FEL is currently investigating the limnology of and the effects of global change on New England Ponds and a lake in Haiti (Etang Saumatre).  A variety of research lines are pursued such as 1) the basic limnology, geochemistry,  and ecological stoichiometry of the water column, 2)  paleolimnology reconstruction of lake sediments, 3) and the landscape ecology and sediment transport and delivery modeling of the watershed.  Collaborators on these projects include Dr. Robyn Hannigan of EEOS, Dr. Emanis Dorval of Haiti, and Dr. David Weindorf of Louisiana State University.

The Effects of Land Use on Water Quality in Urban Watersheds: Geochemistry, Geomorphology, Aquatic Invertebrates, and Microbial Community Structure.

The Neponset River watershed is an urban watershed with a variety of land uses with the major land used being forest, residential, industrial, recreational, and wetlands.  In this research we are investigating the effects of land use on 1) water column physical-chemical parameters, 2) aquatic invertebrate community structure, 3) physical habitat, and 4) microbial community structure.  We are collaborating with Dr. Robert Chen of EEOS, who has done extensive research on the Neponset River Watershed.


The Effects of Active and Passive Dam Removal Restoration on Stream Structure and Function

This research is a collaboration with Dr. Ellen Douglas in EEOS and several Massachusetts Division of Ecological  Restoration scientist in which my lab is 1) using stream structure (e.g. aquatic insects, fish, habitat) and function (e.g. nutrient limitation experiments,  stream metabolism experiments) to investigate the effects of active and passive dam removal, and 2) using physical habitat and fish and aquatic invertebrates assemblages to assess water quality above, within, and downstream of impoundments. This project started in 2010 and is ongoing. 


The Mussels of Arkansas

This research is a collaboration with Dr. John Harris (adjunct Professor at Arkansas State University) who is the lead on writing a book on the species account (taxonomy and systematics, biology, life history, ecology, and conservation status) of all species of freshwater mussels in Arkansas waters.   This is at least a five year project that is starting in the summer of 2012.