I focus my research at the interface of population-community-ecosystem ecology. In particular, my lab focuses on the effects of abiotic variables and perturbations from invasive species on aquatic community structure. Therefore, we conduct experiments on the effects of environmental variables and heterogeneity on predator-prey and competitive interactions, using primarily fish, zooplankton, and macroinvertebrates as our model organisms. This work focuses on the concept that biotic interactions are critical forces regulating abundance and distribution of species, and environmental conditions mediate the intensity of these interactions. Thus, we are interested in how spatial and temporal variation in resources mediates biotic regulatory mechanisms.
I have demonstrated how suspended sediments influence the foraging abilities of larval fish preying on zooplankton. I have clearly shown that turbidity from these sediments differentially affects survival and growth of juvenile fishes typically found in reservoirs. Measure of growth and mortality in a range of habitats can be used to explain habitat use by these species and can suggest mechanisms for observed distribution and abundance patterns for some lake fish species. Through this work, I have demonstrated an important linkage between terrestrial and aquatic systems in Ohio. Only by managing the entire watershed and its inputs to the aquatic ecosystem can we effectively manage fishery resources and affect other ecosystems.
Environmental factors also affect distribution and abundance of prey resources [zooplankton] for the early life stages of many important fishes. Much research on this critical life stage for fishes centers around the concept that mortality is very high and is size dependent. Thus, mortality of young fish is tightly coupled with growth and availability of resources. With the introduction of individual-based modeling, ecologists have been able to demonstrate the importance of early growth. All of these modeling efforts however, assume only Poisson processes for prey availability, and growth. In my lab, we are testing the effects of spatial heterogeneity of prey resources larval fishes in reservoirs and Lake Erie. Incorporating habitat-specific growth into individual-based models is expected to demonstrate the importance of unique habitats for growth, survival, and recruitment through these early life stages.
In the dynamic Lake Erie aquatic community, I also have focused on research on 1] invading species effects [e.g., round goby Neogobius melanostomus] on the benthic and fish communities AND population dynamics of both native fishes [e.g. white bass] and introduced species [e.g., steelhead trout]. My students and I are using otolith chemistry [elemental and isotope with ICP-MS and ICP-OES] to determine contributions of various spawning stocks [white bass] to year classes under varying hydrologic conditions. We are using similar otolith chemistry approaches to determine the straying of steelhead trout from release site tributaries [e.g., 70-80% of the adult steelhead trout in NY tributaries come from stocking in Ohio and Pennsylvania tributaries].
We recognize the importance of global interactions, and thus, we have collaborations with scientists from Sweden and Canada, as well as from Auburn University, Kansas State, and the University of Maryland. Finally, we have worked to develop a fine complement of ecologists, geologists [GIS and remote sensing], and environmental statisticians here at Bowling Green, who offer excellent opportunities for collaboration and intellectual stimulation.
Fraker, M. E., E. J. Anderson, K.Y. Chen, J. J. Davis, K. M. DeVanna, M. R. DuFour, E. A. Marschall, C. J. May, C. M. Mayer, J. G. Miner, K. L. Pangle, J. J. Pritt, E. F. Roseman, J. T. Tyson, Y. Zhao, and S. A. Ludsin. 2015. Variation in larval advection and early life history of Lake Erie walleye (Sander vitreus): insights from an individual-based biophysical model . Journal of Great Lakes Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2015.04.008
Budnik, R.B., M. Clancy, J. G. Miner & W. D. Brown. 2014. Assessment of paddlefish reintroduction into Allegheny Reservoir. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34:1055–1062.
Stewart L.R., Farver J.R., Gorsevski P.V., and Miner J.G. 2014. Spatial prediction of blood lead levels in children in Toledo,OH using fuzzy sets and the site-specific IEUBK model. Applied Geochemistry, 45:120-129
Chapman, D.C., Davis, J.J., Jenkins, J.A., Kocovsky, P.M., Miner, J.G., Farver, J., and Jackson, P.R. 2013. First evidence of grass carp recruitment in the Great Lakes basin, Journal of Great Lakes Research 39: 547-554.
Boehler, C.T., J.G. Miner, J.R. Farver, B.J. Fryer. 2012. Within-stream release site fidelity of steelhead trout from Lake Erie hatchery stocks. Journal of Great Lakes Research 38:251-259. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2012.03.002.