Alexander Fremier

Associate Professor

School of the Environment at Washington State University, WA

On twitter @ripariman all things riparian...
Or here:  GoogleScholar and ResearchGate

My research is motivated by a desire to understand feedback mechanisms in the coupled abiotic and biotic environment. Although, I am a classically trained ecologist I have always paired the biological and physical sciences, in particular, coupling ecological and geomorphic processes to better understand ecosystem transformation. My research program explores how abiotic processes structure ecosystems, how organisms alter the abiotic process, and how the linked systems alter landscape trajectories – from immediate to geological timescales.

I specialize in river-floodplain systems. Because of their dynamic behavior over relatively short time periods and tight coupling of biota and physical processes, these systems are highly tractable to study bio-physical interactions. In addition, they are vital to human well-being and livelihoods worldwide as they include a vital set of ecosystem services (aka. natural capital). My current research program has exploited these areas and these issues to study both applied and basic pursuits. 

Katherine Strickler, Ph.D.

Research Faculty, School of the Environment, Washington State University

My career has spanned a wide range of topics within the field of conservation ecology. On a broad scale, my work has focused on finding different approaches for evaluating the effects of ecological factors and management actions on the dynamics and persistence of animal populations. Find my work on ResearchGate.

After receiving B.A. and M.S. degrees in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, I worked as a raptor biologist for Boise State University from 1990-1994. From 1994-2004 I was senior biologist for a ginormous environmental consulting firm with a disproportionate number of employees named Bob. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 2008, where I studied the effects of stream structure, macroinvertebrate community composition, wildfire, and forest management on demographic rates and movement in American dippers (Cinclus mexicanus). My postdoctoral work at the University of Idaho focused on refining methods for estimating the viability of animal populations by incorporating different forms of uncertainty into population viability models.

Joining the Fremier lab in 2012, my current work explores the use of environmental DNA, combined with environmental and ecological factors, to model occupancy and design monitoring programs for aquatic vertebrates. In my free time, I enjoy backcountry skiing, mountain biking, skiing, hiking with my very large dog, skiing, kayaking, skiing, traveling, skiing, feeding soup to my friends, and skiing.

John Jorgenson

Ph.D. student, Washington State University

I am currently too busy to write up a blog post.  But, look of the cool picture of me in a kayak. Try again later.

Amanda Stahl

PhD Student, School of the Environment, Washington State University

I am joining the Fremier Lab to explore possibilities for implementing the Riparian Connectivity Network envisioned by Fremier et al. (2015). In a pilot study, we plan to collaboratively develop a tool that will allow land use decision makers to view their local landscape overlain with key characteristics of riparian areas, connectivity models, and other relevant spatial information to help prioritize conservation actions to promote ecological resilience.

I earned a B.S. in Geology-Biology from Brown University with an interest in evolution and a thesis on theropod dinosaur tail flexibility. After graduation, a brief internship revealed that museum work was a bit too dusty for me, so I took to the field (and office) for a couple of environmental consulting firms with sites in New England and New Jersey. I returned to graduate school at the University of New Mexico for an M.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences, mapping complexly deformed, 1.8 (or so) billion year old rocks in the northern Colorado Rockies that held some clues to the history and process of continent-building.
My work since then has mainly been in earth and environmental science education. As Geology Lab Director at Mount Holyoke College and Undergraduate Labs Coordinator at WSU, I’ve focused on effectively communicating scientific concepts to a broad audience--most of whom describe themselves as “non-science” majors—utilizing the experiential learning opportunities in lab classes to convey an understanding of earth systems and how humans interact with them.

The first time I visited the Pacific Northwest was on foot via a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that started at the Mexican border. Following that trail through lands that ranged from “pristine” wilderness to heavily used recreation areas, across forest roads and interstate highways alike, I couldn’t help but ponder the potential for building connectivity between protected areas in the western US.

Former Lab Members

Chet Hagen – MS May 2011 in Water Resources, University of Idaho

After completing my MS, I continued working with the Nez Perce Watershed Department in Lapwai, Idaho. I am a GIS database specialists

Ryan Niemeyer - MS December 2011 M.S in Fish and Wildlife Sciences, University of Idaho

See my publications on Google Scholar, with more from my PhD and beyond...

Rachel Hutchinson - MS May 2013 in Water Resources, University of Idaho 

After completing my MS in Water Resources at UI in 2013 ("Community and Phylogenetic Response of Plant Communities Post Invasive Species Removal") I moved back to California and continued to research the implications of hydrochory on floodplain restoration along the Cosumnes River. Now, I am the River Science Director at the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) out of Nevada City, CA, where I have immersed myself in the Yuba River! At SYRCL, I work on riparian restoration, salmonid habitat restoration and meadow restoration and monitoring, land conservation, water quality and hydrologic monitoring, and watershed education. 

I received by B.S. in Environmental and Resource Science from UC Davis in 2005. Before coming to UI for graduate school, I worked on riparian ecosystems in California as a researcher at UC Davis. During that time, I was able to pursue my interest in invasive species, vegetation ecology, and geospatial analysis, among other things. In between degrees I spent a lot of time traveling throughout Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.

Liza Mitchell - MS May 2014, Water Resources, University of Idaho

I have landed back in Colorado with a non-profit working on watershed restoration and education.

After completing my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College in 2008, I worked with universities and watershed conservation non-profits in Colorado and Alaska doing fieldwork, education and outreach, monitoring and writing. I also spent a year and a half working in the Alaskan wilderness as a field guide and instructor on canoeing and mountaineering expeditions for at-risk youth.

My graduate research focused on the impacts of spawning Chinook salmon on nutrient dynamics in the Big Creek watershed, Idaho. Through the use of stable isotope analysis, my study explored the relative importance of marine-derived nutrients (MDNs) and background environmental conditions in the aquatic biota in this inland headwater stream network. This study was conducted 
in designated wilderness lands, based out of the Taylor Ranch Wilderness Research Station.

My professional interests focus on the health of aquatic and riparian ecosystems in the West, particularly in cross ecosystem subsidies and connectivity. Additionally, I have a strong affinity for outdoor adventure and engaging others to experience its joys and develop curiosity and respect for the world we live in.

Todd Buxton - PhD May 2014, Water Resources

Todd continues fisheries related geomorphology research in southeast Alaska and now works in Northern California on river issues with the US Forest Service. See my publication on Google Scholar.

My PhD research determined the effect of salmonid spawning on grain architectures, critical bed shear stress, and bed load transport in streams. For my investigation, I constructed analog redds in a flume laboratory at the University of Idaho’s Water Center in Boise and used them to theoretically test and empirically determine spawning effects on stream bed mechanics. Results of investigations in the flume compared to the same measurements in a mass spawned reach of Kennedy Creek near Olympia, WA. The outcome of this study is to place fisheries managers one step closer to having the knowledge required to set salmon escapements to streams by the degree of physical disturbance from spawning that streams may require to remain productive for fish.

Natalia Estrada Carmona - PhD May 2014 Natural Resources, UI-CATIE

I now work for Bioversity International and based in Montpellier France. My current work takes me to Zambia and Cambodia to work with communities to understand the relationships between people and ecosystems. Check out my work on Research Gate

I am a forest engineer with experience in the use of Geographic Information Systems as a tool to improve the management and conservation of the natural resources. In 2007 I decided to start my master degree in the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Costa Rica within the program of Environmental Socioeconomics. In my thesis research I use different modeling tools to prioritize areas important to habitat connectivity for biodiversity, and soil erosion control. The main idea of my thesis tends to reveal the improvement of the Payment for Ecosystem Services as a conservation strategy when the spatial distribution at landscape level and differentiation of the offer of the services it is included in the payment scheme. 

In 2010 I entered to the PhD joint program CATIE – IDAHO, and with my dissertation I will better understand how ecoagricultural landscapes can be sustainable managed from the biophysical and the socio-economic point of view. From the biophysical point of view I will focus on how ecosystem services can be accurately model and which are the processes that guarantee the provisioning of those ecosystem services, by making an example with soil erosion control, a key ES provided in ecoagricultural landscapes. From the socio-economical point of view, I will review which strategies are currently being applied to sustainable manage ecoagriculture landscapes that not only provide us with food but with environmental services. To finally link and understand how an accurate knowledge of the processes that controls soil erosion may improve the management of those landscapes. My hobby is enjoying life with friends and family, with simple moments and with fun activities.

Cat Wiechmann 

M.S. August 2014 Environmental Science, Focus: Wetland ecology

I earned a degree in Ecology from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2009. One major highlight of my undergraduate education was a semester-long ecology program in Ecuador in which I learned an extraordinary amount about the ecosystems, conservation opportunities, and cultures of Ecuador. When I returned to Minnesota, I started the Gustavus student farm (Big Hill Farm), which is still active and running to this day.

Prior to starting graduate school, I worked at the McCall Outdoor Science School in McCall, ID teaching an array of Idaho-based science to middle schoolers in an outdoor setting.  I also served as the Lead Environmental Educator at the Center for Learning and Conservation in Sarapiqui, 
Costa Rica practicing conservation and reforestation, and  as a Restoration Educator at Friends of the Mississippi River, a non-profit in Minneapolis, working with Riparian science and outreach.

At the University of Idaho, within the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Environmental Science, I studied the ecological requirements of the federally threatened wetland plant, water howellia (Howellia aquatilis). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aims to create a management plan for water howellia in Idaho, but more scientific research is needed to inform restoration efforts. The research combined a variety of disciplines including soil physics, wetland hydrology, plant physiology, and community ecology to understand more about the environmental preferences of this aquatic plant. My work was funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Idaho Environmental Science department, and the National Science Foundation.

Associated works included:
  • Co-author with Coeur d' Alene Fish and Wildlife biologist on Howellia aquatilis Biological Assessment related to Sheep Creek Restoration Project
  • Presentation at the River Restoration Northwest Conference "Environmental assessment of Howellia aquatilis habitat and implications for floodplain management in northern Idaho" February 2014
  • Presentation at the Idaho Native Plant Annual Conference "Habitat and seed germination characteristics of the rare aquatic plant, Howellia aquatilis, and implications for population management" February 2014

Shane Smith

Hatch Database Programmer Analyst, University of Idaho 

My work focuses on software development of the Hatch online database.  Hatch was designed to make the sharing of scientific data easier.  In addition to programming I work with Hatch clients to;
  • Develop new features to meet user needs.
I graduated from the University of Idaho with a Masters in computer science.  My research primarily involved testing encryption algorithms in the SAC programming language being used for the NASA funded "Field Programmable Processor Array" project.  After graduating I worked for several years as an IT consultant and a volunteer TA for the U of I Japanese language program.

Taylor Joyal

Ph.D. Student in Water Resources at the University of Idaho (IGERT Fellow, Joint Doctoral Program with CATIE)

After graduating from UI, I moved back to Flagstaff and currently am faculty at NAU. I continue to work with the Fremier Lab on projects both in Idaho and in the Volta Basin in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Find my work on Google Scholar.

I received a M.S. degree in Quaternary Sciences from Northern Arizona University focused on Fluvial Geomorphology and stayed at NAU to teach Introductory Environmental Science, Field Geology, Geomorphology, and Environmental Science of the San Juan River. While teaching, I also investigated the impacts of wildfire on stream channel morphology and aquatic habitat along the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau and in the canyons of Mesa Verde National Park. After several years of teaching and research, I joined the Peace Corps and worked hand-in-hand with Dominicans attempting to resolve pressing environmental and human health issues including toxic pesticide use, impacts of dam construction on rural communities, and coral reef degradation.

My current research in central Costa Rica is focused on the influence of land use and climate on watershed hydrology, river channel structure, and habitat condition in steep headwater terrain. I am physically modeling hillslope hydrology in three tropical mountain watersheds experiencing varied land use intensity in an effort to relate watershed characteristics, such as vegetation cover, soil type and landscape morphometry, to field-measured channel morphology. I am interested in the flows that shape and maintain mountain river channels: How do such flows in the humid tropics compare in frequency and magnitude to temperate and arid regions? Are certain watersheds more sensitive to land use and climate change, and how does channel morphology reflect this watershed sensitivity?

In addition I am working with an interdisciplinary team of PhD students as part of the IGERT program exploring effective management of drinking water sources in rural areas through the integration of social and biophysical science methodologies. In particular, we are investigating mismatches between the scale of natural resource management and the scale of biophysical processes that provide natural resources.

Oscar Abelleira

Ph.D. Student in Natural Resources (IGERT Fellow, Joint Doctoral Program with CATIE)

I am a professor at UPR-RUM in Mayaguez Puerto Rico. I started in 2015 three months after finishing my PhD. It's my dream job in my home town. Check out my work on Research Gate.

I am an ecologist trained in systems, tropical forests, and tree physiology, incurring into hydrology, and with particular interest in post-agricultural novel ecosystems. My college education began in my hometown Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Mayagüez where I spent two years before moving to New York to complete my B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY-ESF. I returned to UPR in Río Piedras to complete my Master’s degree in Biology while working for the International Institute of Tropical Forestry of the USDA Forest Service. My thesis was on the ecology of novel forests dominated by the African tulip tree in north-central Puerto Rico. I entered the Joint PhD program of the University of Idaho and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica last year as an NSF-IGERT fellow. My dissertation is on the water budget of Asian teak plantations sponsored by Payments for Ecosystem Services in the seasonally dry region of Nicoya, Costa Rica. I enjoy cooking, salsa dancing, bongo playing, surfing, and my family.

Joe Parzych

Masters student in Environmental Science, Washington State University 

After graduating I moved to the Hood River in Oregon and work for InterFluve as a consultant. I continue to work on research projects in the Fremier, but my free time is filled with fishing and hunting.

My research focuses on the impacts stream restoration has on nutrient cycling in salmon bearing streams. My study site is located in the Tucannon River, Columbia County, Washington where engineered log jams are being installed to improve habitat quality and increase channel complexity. I am studying how log jams impact transient storage, hyporheic exchange, and nitrogen uptake to better understand how changes to the physical habitat can control biological processes.

My long term career goal is to restore salmon habitat in the Pacific Northwest working for a consulting firm or agency. Fishing has always been a passion of mine, and restoring the degraded habitat of these culturally, commercially, and recreationally important species is extremely important.

Adrianne Zuckerman 

Masters of Science Student in Water Resources, University of Idaho

My research investigates food web interactions in salmon streams and focuses on the role of riparian vegetation on stream metabolism, nutrient retention, and stream productivity at reach and basin scales. My study area is in the Methow River Watershed in the Upper Columbia Basin in Washington State. Decagon Devices, Inc. made this video of my research.

During undergrad, I spent a semester in India researching how people interact with their natural environments in urban and rural settings. In India, I observed privatization of public goods at the cost of biodiversity and ecosystem function. I recall seeing an enormous new dam under construction on an important tributary to the Ganges River. Observing the damming of a free flowing river solidified my interest in learning how rivers function and about the numerous services associated with the complex ecological processes of lotic systems.

Living in the Columbia River Gorge, I worked with private landowners in the White Salmon and Wind River basins to improve land stewardship, identify salmon habitat restoration opportunities, and provide education on water conservation, small farm management and riparian and forest health. My work often focused on preparing for ecological or land use changes associated with the impending removal of the Condit Dam in Washington State. The Condit Dam was removed in October 2011 and the White Salmon River now flows freely from glaciers on Mt. Adams to the Columbia River!

Francine Mejia

Ph.D. student in Natural Resources (Fish and Wildlife Sciences)

I current am a post doc working with the USGS on stream temperature effects on fish. See my work on Google Scholar.

I have an M.S. Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a B.S. degree in Biology from City University of New York, Brooklyn College. Prior to coming to the University of Idaho, I worked in the fisheries field in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington and California for various public and private entities. Most recently, I worked as a staff environmental scientist for the California Department of Water Resources where I focused on delta smelt issues, long term turbidity trends in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the applicability of new technologies to phytoplankton monitoring. My graduate work will focus on understanding the interactions between physical and biological processes at different spatial and temporal scales as it relates to food productivity, fish growth and ultimately survival in the Methow River in the Upper Columbia River basin, Washington. I enjoy running, photography and wildlife watching.

Laura Livingston

M.S. student, School of the Environment, Washington State University

As an undergrad in the liberal arts (B.A. Geography), I never imagined enrolling in a science master's program and was intent on pursuing environmental law and policy (an interest cultivated through working with land trusts on conservation easements and regional conservation policy). However, after an initial stumble into a lab studying interactions between atmospheric N deposition, tree species, and soil N cycling, I became hooked on ecology and the cycle of field work, lab work, and writing involved in the sciences. I am currently working on a master's thesis exploring how stream flow regimes affect aquatic invertebrate communities in western Washington. 

Aline Ortega Pieck

Ph.D. Student in the Joint Doctoral Program CATIE, Costa Rica / University of Idaho, in the Water Resources program

I studied Biology in Mexico City and did my M.Sc. working in a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest restoration ecology project in Xalapa, Veracruz, at the INECOL A.C. Most of my work has taken place in Mexico and has focused on active restoration and restoration education. I have also worked making accessible scientific information for coffee farmers to promote the conservation of diverse agroforestry systems to incorporate them into payment for ecosystem services schemes. In general I'm interested in human-altered landscapes and the impacts of Tropical Forest conversion to agricultural land use over biological processes. My current research is taking place in Central Costa Rica and mainly focuses on the effects of agriculture over whole-stream metabolism. I'm working to elucidate: Which are the main controls of headwater trophic state in a gradient of land use intensity? On which carbon sources (i.e. terrestrial vs. in-stream production) are stream ecosystems mainly relying on to function? How do C processing rates change over space when streams run through forest-sugarcane borders? and, how can riparian management strategies help ameliorate the impact of intensive agriculture over stream C processing. See my work on Research Gate.


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