Ashley Moerke, Ph.D.

Professor & Co-Director of the Aquatic Research Laboratory

Department of Biological Sciences

Lake Superior State University



Research Interests - aquatic ecology, stream fisheries ecology, ecosystem restoration, watershed management, bioassessment, conservation of freshwater biota



**Student Opportunities! ** I'm looking for students in fall 2014 and summer 2015 to conduct senior thesis research related to the projects below:



Ongoing and Past Research

  • Ecological linkages between tributaries and nearshore areas of Lake Superior - involves measuring and recording water quality and algal biomass, maintaining and downloading flow and temperature dataloggers; this is part of a larger, collaborative study looking at tributary influences on lake whitefish populations (collaborator:  Paul Ripple, Bay Mills Indian Community)
  • Lake sturgeon movement and habitat use in the St. Marys River, MI (collaborators: Roger Greil, LSSU ARL; Chris Olds, Scott Koproski, USFWS)
  • Effects of temperature on functional relationships among Michigan ’s fluvial fish assemblages:  identifying management opportunities in the face of environmental changes (collaborators: Dr. Dana Infante, MSU; Dr. Casey Huckins, MTU; Dr. Travis Brenden, MSU)
  • Distribution and habitat requirements of freshwater mussels in the Upper Peninsula (collaborators: Jessica Mistak, MDNR; Andy Selle, Inter-fluve, Inc.; Pete Badra, MNFI; Randy Piette, WDNR)


Senior Thesis Advisees (*presented at a scientific conference, ^submitted for publication/published)


Dutton, A. Current. Effects of a wildfire on terrestrial subsidies and resident fish diets in the Two Hearted River, MI. Hiltz, D. Current.  Response of salmonid populations to a dam removal on Thompson Creek, MI.

Price, G. Current. Contaminant loads in semi-aquatic mammals in relation to salmon spawning runs.

Sleight, N. Current. Changes in fish and insect communities after restoration of flow in the Little Rapids area, St. Marys River, MI.

Wenke, A. Current.

Bishop, Rebecca. Current. Landscape characterization of Whitefish Bay watersheds using GIS.

*Baldwin, R. 2014. – Resistance and resilience of macroinvertebrate communities to wave disturbances in coastal wetlands.

*Curell, B. 2014. – Effects of disturbance frequency on macroinvertebrate communities in coastal wetlands. - Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium

*Mockler, D. 2014 - Tributary contribution of energy to rivermouths in Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior.

Berry, Zach. 2013. Larval and adult fish use of the Little Rapids area prior to flow restoration.

Vandenberg, Blake. 2013. Response of stream habitat and macroinvertebrates to culvert replacement in the Two Hearted and Tahquahmenon River watersheds.- Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium

*^Kirby, Fred. 2013. Colonization of a brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) stream by introduced brown trout (Salmo trutta). (Click here to view poster)

*Elya, Matt. 2013. Comparison of nutrient excretion rates of native and non-native migratory fishes in Great Lakes tributaries. (Click here to view poster) - Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium

*Osga, Jimmy. 2013. Changes in the spatial distribution of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the St. Marys River before, during, and after spawning. (Click here to view poster) - Best Student Poster at MI AFS Annual Meeting

*Poehls, Ashley. 2013. Effects of ocean acidification on the growth rate and biomass of the coccolithophore Pleurochrysis sp.

*Ransom, John. 2012. Impacts of non-native salmonids on resident stream fish communities after barrier removal.  (Click here to view poster)

*Tucker, Stefan. 2012. Verification of lake sturgeon reproduction in the St. Marys River. - Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium

*Crane, Josh. 2012. Relationships between dissolved nutrients and Typha sp. dominance in Iowa wetlands - Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium

*Chambers, Amanda. 2012.  Status, distribution, and environmental factors limiting brook trout in Cheney Creek, MI.

Ingersoll, Alexander. 2012.  Spatial and temporal patterns of larval fishes in Black Lake, MI.

*Marshall, Brian. 2012.  Patterns of aquatic insects emerge in the presence of introduced spawning salmon.

*Riley, Jacob. 2012. Does the physical environment of a stream favor certain life history attributes of fishes?

*Zellinger, James. 2012.  Size-specific habitat use by brown and brook trout in Hunt Creek, MI.

*Cross, Robert.  2011.  The role of barriers in protecting native fish communities from upstream migrations. - Best Student Poster at LSSU Biology Research Symposium; Best Student Poster at MI AFS Annual Meeting

Truax, Andrew.  2011.  Biological and economic surveys of aquatic invasive species in tributaries to the St. Marys River.

*Gay, Ross.  2011.  Effects of spawning Pacific salmon on aquatic macroinvertebrate drift.

*Kosiara, Jessica.  2011.  Experimental evaluation of spawning salmon effects on algal biomass. - Best Student Poster at MI AFS Annual Meeting

Montgomery, Dave.  2010. Status and condition of siscowet (Salvelinus namaycush) in Canadian waters of Lake Superior.

*^Turschak, Ben., 2009.  Seasonal and spatial changes in zooplankton of the St. Marys River.

Ward, Nate.  2009.  Effects of large woody debris additions on fish communities in low gradient Upper Peninsula streams.

Wils, Joel.  2009.  Does artificial stream habitat improve trout populations?

McManus, Luke.   2009.  The effects of pasture land on a small headwater stream.

*^Gerig, Brandon. 2009.  Population characteristics, movement patterns, and habitat use of lake sturgeon in the St. Marys River.

*^Harriger, Kathryn. 2009.  Freshwater mussel distribution and demographics in relation to microhabitat in a 1st order stream in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

*Jerome, Corey.  2009.  Sunfish predation on milfoil weevil (Euhrychiopsis lecontei) in two inland lakes

Olds, Christopher.  2009.   Fin and micropore morphometrics of two lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) strains

*^Collins, Scott. 2008.  Response of algal biomass and water chemistry to spawning Pacific salmon in three Northern Michigan streams. - Best Student Paper at MI AFS Annual Meeting

*Harjala, Kurt.  2008.  Can landscape characteristics predict steelhead spawning sites?

*Johnson, Jennifer.  2008.  Freshwater mussel distribution and relationships with landscape variables in northern Michigan streams.

*Pumfery, Matt.  2008.  Diet composition of double-crested cormorants on Brevoort Lake.

*Zomer, Frank. 2008. Differences in benthic algae, macroinvertebrates, and fish use of log cribs of varying ages.

*Kline, Meghan. 2007.  Population characteristics and movement patterns of lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, in the St. Marys River.

Traylor, Katy. 2007.  Bioassessment of Pearson's Creek.

Wrzesinski, Jeri. 2007.  Habitat preferences of burbot in Lower Peninsula Michigan streams.

*Pinkerton, Jeramy. 2007.  Diet and morphology of four coregonid species in Lake Superior.

*Adams, Chris. 2006.  Influence of spawning salmonids on diets of pre-smolt steelhead.

*Johnson, Jeremiah. 2006.  Egg-thiamine concentration and the occurrence of Early Mortality Syndrome in larval lake trout from Yankee Reef, Lake Huron.

Kelly, Jacob.  2006.  Comparison of three aging techniques for yellow perch in Baei de Wassai, MI.

Lipps, Matt. 2006.  Seasonal distribution of walleye and muskellunge in the Tahquamenon River, MI.

*Potter, Haley. 2006.  Assessment of fish communities in coastal wetlands of the St. Marys River, MI.

Rinkus, Rachel. 2006.  A comparison of macroinvertebrate communities in nine coastal wetlands of the St. Marys River, MI.

Axtell, Kyle.  2005.  The effects of hydroelectric impoundments on aquatic invertebrate assemblages in the Boardman River, MI.

*Bauman, John.  2005.  Evaluation of a stream-side rearing facility by measuring growth dynamics of young-of-year lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens).

Smith, Rob.  2004.  Effectiveness of different aquatic macroinvertebrate samplers within riffle and run habitats.



Publications (*undergraduate student)


Tucker, S*, A. Moerke, R. Greil, and G. Steinhart. In Press.  First record of natural reproduction by Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) in the St. Marys River, Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research

Janetski, D., D. Chaloner, A. Moerke, P. Levi, and G. Lamberti. 2014. Novel environmental conditions alter subsidy and engineering effects by introduced Pacific salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 71(4): 502-513.

Janetski, D., D. Chaloner, A. Moerke, J. O'Keefe, and G. Lamberti. 2012. Resident fishes display elevated organic pollutants in salmon spawning streams of the Great Lakes. Environmental Science & Technology. Doi:10.1021/es301864k

Lauer, T. E., and A.H. Moerke.  2012.   Converting your dissertation to a journal manuscript: Guidance to students and mentors for removing impediments and improving success . Pages 111-119 in Scientific Communication for Natural Resource Professionals. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

*Collins, S., A. Moerke, D. Chaloner, D. Janetski, and G. Lamberti.  2011.  Response of dissolved nutrients and periphyton to spawning Pacific salmon in three northern Michigan streams.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 30(3):831-839.

*Bauman, J., A. Moerke, R. Greil, B. Gerig*, E. Baker, and J. Chiotti.  2011. Population assessment of lake sturgeon in the St. Marys River, MI.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (Suppl 2):47-53.

*Gerig, B., A. Moerke, R. Greil, and S. Koproski.  2011.  Movement patterns and habitat characteristics of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in the St. Marys River.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (Suppl 2):54-60.

Keller, B., R. Back, J. Westrick, M. Werner, B. Evans, A. Moerke, G. Zimmerman, D. Wright, E. Grenfell*, and J. Courneya*. 2011.  Sediment quality at selected sites in the St. Marys Area of Concern.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (Suppl 2):12-20.

Marklevitz, S., B. Fryer, D. Gonder, Z. Yang, J. Johnson, A. Moerke, and Y. Morbey. 2011. Otolith chemistry can discriminate Chinook salmon from different wild populations and hatcheries in Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research. doi:10.106/j.jglr.2011.08.004.

Moerke, A.H. and R.M. Werner. 2011. Ecological status of the St. Marys River: Foreword. Journal of Great Lakes Research 37(Suppl 2).

*Turschak, B., A. Moerke, and B. Evans. 2011.  Spatial and temporal changes in the zooplankton community of the St. Marys River.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 37(Suppl 2):21-27.

Janetski, D.J., A.H. Moerke, D.T. Chaloner, and G.A. Lamberti. 2011. Spawning salmon increase brook trout movements in a Lake Michigan tributary. Ecology of Freshwater Fish. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2010.00479.x

Aumen, N.G., M.E. Gurtz, M.T. Barbour, and A.H. Moerke. 2010.  BRIDGES:  evolution of basic and applied linkages in benthic science. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 29(1):359-371.

Dorr, B., A. Moerke, M. Bur, C. Bassett, T. Aderman, D. Traynor, R. Singleton, P. Butchko, J. Taylor II.  2010.  Evaluation of harassment of migrating double-crested cormorants to limit depredation on sport fisheries in Michigan.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 36:215-223.

*Traynor, D., A. Moerke, and R. Greil. 2010.  Identification of Michigan fishes using cleithra.  Great Lakes Fish. Comm. Misc. Publ. 2010-02.

*Harriger, K., A. Moerke, and P. Badra.  2009.  Distribution and demographics of freshwater mussels in a 1st-order Michigan stream.  Michigan Academician XXXIX:149-162.

Harrison, J., J. Cohen, E. Hinchey, A. Moerke, and P. von Dassow.  2009.  Getting the word out and making a difference:  Maximizing outreach efforts from the perspective of early-career scientists. Eos (AGU) 90(38):333-334.

Moerke, A.H. and A. Roy. 2009. Editorial: The future of BRIDGES. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 28: 271–272.

A. Moerke and G. A. Lamberti.  2006.  Scale-dependent controls of water quality, habitat, and fish communities in Michigan (USA) streams.  Aquatic Sciences 68(2):193-205.

Rosi-Marshall, E., A. Moerke, and G. Lamberti.  2006.  Ecological responses to rehabilitation of a northern Michigan trout stream.  Environmental Management 38(1):99-107.

Moerke, A.H. and G.A. Lamberti.  2006.  Effects of watershed land use on stream ecosystems:  A multi-stream assessment in the midwestern U.S.  Pages 323-338 in R. M. Hughes, L. Wang, and P. W. Seelbach, editors.  Landscape influences on stream habitats and biological assemblages.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 48, Bethesda, Maryland.

Moerke, A.H., K.J. Gerard, J.A. Latimore, R.A. Hellenthal, and G.A. Lamberti.  2004.  Restoration of an Indiana, USA, stream:  Bridging the gap between applied and basic lotic ecology.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 23:647-660.

Moerke, A.H. and G.A. Lamberti.  2004.  Restoring stream ecosystems:  Lessons from a midwestern state.  Restoration Ecology 12:327-334.  (Ranked in the top 3 of most accessed Restoration Ecology articles in 2004).

Tillman, D.C., A.H. Moerke, C.L. Ziehl, and G.A. Lamberti.  2003.  Subsurface hydrology and degree of burial affect mass loss and invertebrate colonization of leaves in a woodland stream.  Freshwater Biology 48:98-107.

Moerke, A.H. and G.A. Lamberti.  2003.  Responses in fish community structure to restoration of two Indiana streams.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 23:748-759