Research Collaborations


Clean Water Future

In late 2009, Dartmouth College in collaboration with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, American Forest Foundation, and several regional partners, helped support the development of the Clean Water Future website. The site aims to develop a community that invests in the natural services -- clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, erosion control and flood protection, recreational use, food, and timber -- provided by private lands in the watersheds of the Northern Forest. This project involves threshold pledges, a social-marketing mechanism, to pay for actions on private lands that sustain public benefits from ecosystem services, such as clean water and healthy forests. In summer 2012, the site transitioned to its permanent home under the Connecticut River Watershed Council Inc. Visit the site to stay up to date with current projects!

Watch the Clean Water Future promotional video: Clean Water Future (Money in the Water) from Wayne Barstad on Vimeo.

Restoring Native Brook Trout in the Second College Grant

Collaborators: William Ardren, Senior Fish Biologist, W New England Complex, US FWS; Professor John Kull, Chemistry, Dartmouth College; New Hampshire Fish and Game Department; Trout Unlimited; Dartmouth College Forester

How to conserve biodiversity while using nature to meet human needs is one of the big sustainability challenges of our time. An acute case is the worldwide decline of freshwater fishes due to human impacts. The Dartmouth Second College Grant--nearly 27 thousand acres of forest and streams--is a real-world laboratory for solving this problem. Dartmouth College uses adaptive management to balance timber production, recreation, and conservation goals for the property. However, native brook trout populations have declined due to habitat modification, introduction of non-native species and other stressors. Our research involves conducting genetic analysis to characterize population structure, quantify levels of inbreeding, and clarify relationships between migratory and resident life history forms. This genetic analysis will guide field studies at the Grant during the summer. Suzanne Kelson ’12 conducted DNA-based lab analyses for this project as part of her senior honors thesis in Biology.

Click here for an award-winning poster about Suzanne's research.


Restoration of Atlantic Salmon in Large Lakes by Restoring River Imprinting

Collaborators: William Ardren, Senior Fish Biologist, W New England Complex, US FWS; Steve McCormick, Research Physiologist, Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center; Dr. Hiroshi Ueda, Hokkaido University; Dr. Andy Dittman, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

How do Atlantic and Pacific salmon live in rivers as juveniles, migrate 4,000 km through the ocean to feed, and then return to the very same tributary they were born in to reproduce years later? This is the question of Marcus Welker's highly collaborative PhD research on Atlantic salmon migration. In order to improve restoration efforts, Marcus’ goal is to better understand the function and patterns of dissolved free amino acids in stream waters, which are thought to be the environmental signal used by salmon for imprinting and homing. Marcus’ field research is international in scope and takes place in three lakes containing landlocked Atlantic salmon, each with a unique management situation: Lake Champlain between Vermont, New York, and Quebec; Lake Sebago in western Maine; and Lake St. Jean in south central Quebec. Marcus is working very closely with the Lake Champlain Fisheries Technical Committee, which has identified inappropriate imprinting (resulting in the loss of precise homing to release-rivers) as a plausible obstacle to salmon restoration. This research focuses on removing this impediment and similar issues in other hatchery-driven reintroduction and restoration efforts.

Marcus’ research explores (1) the pattern of dissolved free amino acids in the tributaries to three lakes, (2) the amino acid sensing receptors in the noses of Atlantic salmon and their response to amino acid exposure, and (3) the ability of Atlantic salmon to remember dissolved free amino acid patterns experienced as juveniles and use these memories to make behavioral decisions as sexually maturing adults.

Results of this research will improve the feasibility of restoring river-runs of Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain and other watersheds in the native range of this species. Results will provide direct evidence of Atlantic salmon amino acid imprinting and inform the revision of hatchery rearing, release, and water management practices to improve fish imprinting and successful homing of adults to their release river.