Current Graduate Students - Paul Damkot
Current Research: I am currently investigating the effects of riparian characteristics on terrestrial invertebrate input and brook trout bioenergetics in headwater streams of Maine and New Hampshire. Many of these streams are cold, nutrient-poor and unproductive, thereby providing an inadequate aquatic invertebrate prey base to support brook trout persistence. Therefore, it is highly likely that brook trout residing in these streams rely heavily on terrestrial invertebrate subsidies not only for growth and reproduction, but also for metabolic maintenance and survival. Previous studies have shown that terrestrial invertebrate input varies among areas with different riparian characteristics, and an existing bioenergetics model has been used to quantify the amount of brook trout growth that can be attributed to consumption of terrestrial invertebrates. However, this project will be the first to investigate the combined responses of terrestrial invertebrates and salmonine bioenergetics to variation in riparian characteristics and the first to be conducted in the northeastern United States.
Previous Research Experience: As an undergraduate, I worked as a student intern and technician at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute for three years. This sanctuary and research facility houses four chimpanzees that have acquired some of the signs of American Sign Language. My responsibilities included participating in the daily care of the chimpanzees, ensuring their psychological well being by providing various enrichment activities, supervising other student interns and assisting graduate students with thesis data collection.
After graduating from Central Washington University, I spent two years working for a small, private consulting firm that conducts fisheries research for a variety of state, federal and Native American agencies. Most of this research focused on Chinook salmon in the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers.