NSM Lecture Series - Freshwater Ecology

Tuesday, September 26    12:30 PM-1:45 PM Hamblin Hall 107
Dr. Michael Fultz (304-766-3106)


Dr. Bryan Brown - Virginia Tech


Benthic invertebrates in riverine systems: biology, water quality, and model for community ecology
Some organisms in streams seem to get all of the press. Fish, waterfowl, and crayfish are some of the more charismatic and easily recognizable organisms that inhabit stream systems. However, beneath the eye of the casual observer, a stream can contain hundreds of species of smaller, less conspicuous organisms. Many of these organisms are insects whose life cycles involve aquatic larval stages, and often these aquatic stages are the dominant stages of their lives. These aquatic larvae come in an enormous range of forms and ecologies, from extremely abundant midge larvae that can reach densities of several hundred per meter squared, to large predatory organisms that seemed to have jumped straight out of an alien blockbuster. But not only do these organisms have fascinating biology, they are also one of the best known indicators of aquatic contamination, and as such, play an enormous role in regulation of water quality around the globe. Additionally, these organisms are emerging as one of the preeminent model systems in the field of community ecology. 
Bryan Brown grew up in the town of Andrews in the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina. He received a B.S. in Biological Science from the University of North Carolina in 1995, a M.S. in Biology from Appalachian State in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College in 2004. He then spent two years at the University of Texas for a postdoc before receiving his first faculty appointment at Clemson University in Forestry and Natural Resources in 2006. Dr. Brown is currently an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech where he moved in 2011. Dr. Brown’s interests have always gravitated around the community ecology of aquatic systems, primarily streams, though there have also been some brief dalliances with ponds and wetlands. Specific topics of Dr. Brown’s research include symbiotic interactions, metacommunity ecology, community assembly, and the stability of communities through time.


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