Thomas J. Parr

Thomas J. Parr

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD University of Maine

My work explores three broad topics animals in biogeochemical cycles, the ecological and chemical fingerprint of ooze (organic matter in streams, sediments, and soils), and streams in cities. I completed my PhD at the University of Maine as part of a large multidisciplinary team investigating alternative future trajectories for land development in Maine and how these trajectories could impact the biogeochemical processes occurring in Maine’s abundant water resources. I have also co-organized the 3rd and 4th Symposia on Urbanization and Stream Ecology (SUSE). SUSE is an interdisciplinary meeting where scientists, engineers, and managers meet to exchange knowledge and discuss the unique stressors degrading urban streams and the challenges in restoring and protecting those streams. In the Vaughn lab, I am working as a post-doctoral researcher on the NSF-funded ‘Hoptspots Project.’ I am looking at how the seasonal hydrologically-driven overlap of different consumer groups affects biogeochemical cycling of C and N and what the implications are for the stability of ecosystem function.

                                    Noé Ferreira Rodríguez

Noé Ferreira Rodríguez

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD Universidade de Vigo, Spain

My general research interests focus on ecology and conservation. More specifically, I am interested in aquatic invasions, vectors and pathways of introduction and interaction with native species. My Ph.D. project goal was to analyze the ecology of Corbicula fluminea invasion in the NW of the Iberian Peninsula in a global change context, including environmental factors controlling distribution, density and biomass; competition with native freshwater mussels; predation by native and other exotic species; and the social component of C. fluminea invasion. Currently, I am working analyzing the global decline of freshwater mussels and their interaction with C. fluminea with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Autonomic Govern of Galicia (Spain).

                                                   Traci Popejoy

Traci Popejoy

PhD Student

I am interested in conservation biology, biogeography and community ecology in freshwater systems. I believe multiple forms of evidence are essential to support conservation discussions. For my master‘s thesis, I compared freshwater mussel shells from two archaeological sites to a contemporary survey and discussed the conservation implications of this comparison, such as potential habitat change. I look forward to adding to my ’conservation tool box’ by researching nutrient cycling in Oklahoma streams.

Brent M. Tweedy

Brent M. Tweedy

PhD Student, GAAN Fellow, Wethington Fellow

B.S. Oklahoma Baptist University
M.S. Texas Christian University

Freshwater ecosystems are especially vulnerable to the buildup of toxic chemicals. Toxins deposited in low levels across a watershed become concentrated in the streams, lakes, and rivers they wash into, adversely affecting the health of aquatic organisms. Freshwater mussels stand out among these organism due to their pivotal role in many important ecosystem functions and because many North American species are threatened or endangered. While at OU, I plan to investigate how sublethal concentrations of toxins affect mussels and how these effects might cascade throughout the ecosystem.

                                                   Ed Higgins

Ed Higgins

PhD Student, Alumni Fellow

My primary interests are integrating genetic techniques and freshwater ecology. I am especially excited to begin my research on the freshwater ‘microbiome’. Microbiomes are complex assemblages of different species of microscopic organisms and both mussels and those microorganisms have tremendous impacts on nutrient cycling. While at OU I am interested in exploring the function and interactions between freshwater mussels, the microbiome they host, and the microbiome of their environment. Between my graduation from BU and joining the Biology Department, I conducted research at Boston University, worked at a biotech company in Boston to develop cancer panels for precision medicine, and worked as a field assistant at Cornell University.

                                                   Jonathan Lopez

Jonathan Lopez

PhD Student

I am interested in research that builds a case for the conservation of freshwater mussels, especially focusing on the role they play in cycling biologically important nutrients. I find aquatic-terrestrial linkages via nutrient cycles particularly fascinating. I am also interested in the complex life cycles of these animals, and how the ecology of mussels changes from parasitic larval stage, to the juvenile stage and the long-lived adult stage.

Janell Hartwell

Janell Hartwell

Undergraduate Research Assistant