Fish & Wildlife Ecology

I am a graduate student at Utah State University with focuses on native species conservation, multi-species management, and applied ecology. I work on a variety of research projects as highlighted here:

Active Projects

 Habitat Change & Fish Communities

I am currently working with biologists in the kokanee-Lardeau+River+Adventures+Kootenay River watershed of British Columbia where large algal blooms (Didymosphenia geminata) have raised concerns about impacts on local salmonid fisheries. I will be examining fish diets, growth, and abundance, as well as macroinvertebrate communities in the  White and Lardeau River basins and testing the efficacy of mitigation techniques. We aim to provide biologists with practical management recommendations to address any negative impacts of these algal blooms on fish food resources.

Collaborators: 

  • Janice Brahney – Co-Advisor, Utah State University
  • Phaedra Budy – Co-Advisor, Utah State University
  • Jim Dunnigan – Committee Member, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Jon McFarland, Fisheries Technician, Utah State University
  • Max Bothwell – Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada
  • Jeff Burrows – Wildlife Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Nat. Res. Ops.
  • Heather Lamson – Wildlife Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Nat. Res. Ops.
  • Greg Andrusak – Wildlife Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Nat. Res. Ops.

Illegal Fish Introductions

18839418_1515929271801891_4136226993042806956_oIllegal introductions (bucket biology) of game fishes is an ever present problem in Montana and beyond. Along with collaborators at Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks, I am conducting an analysis to determine what characteristics may make certain waterbodies more susceptible to bucket biology.

Related Publications:
Bourret, S.L. and N.G. Clancy. In prep. Using forensic geochemistry to investigate an illegal fish introduction. For submission to the Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences.

Collaborators:

  • Sam Bourret – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Adam Sepulveda – U.S. Geological Survey

Managing for Multiple Species

nohly-toad-1As freshwater fish populations continue to decline worldwide, new management approaches are needed to compliment the old. Multi-species management is an approach that expands the scope of fisheries conservation to include non-game fishes and even non-fish aquatic animals (i.e. larval amphibians, mussels, beavers, turtles, etc.) due to the many impacts these species have on  fisheries (fish, habitats, and humans). MSM can be viewed as a practical, on-the-ground alternative to the more nebulous and policy-focused ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM).

Related Publications:

Clancy, N.G. 2017. Can amphibians help conserve native fishes? Fisheries 42(4): 327-331.

Clancy, N.G. and C.G. Clancy. In prep. Some practical suggestions for integrating aspects of community ecology into freshwater fisheries management. For submission to the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Collaborators:

  • Wyatt Cross – Montana State University
  • Andrea Litt – Montana State University
  • Chris Clancy – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

 Past Projects

Pallid Sturgeon Food Webs

backwater-wolf-point-3From 2015-2017, I worked on a project headed by Eric Scholl on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. I used GIS maps to quantify areas of backwater habitat at different distances from Fort Peck Dam. I paired these maps with invertebrate samples from three study sites below the dam to determine how invertebrate communities change due to impoundment.  This is part of a larger study on the food resources of the endangered Pallid Sturgeon.

Collaborators:

  • Eric Scholl – Montana State University
  • Nate Beckman – Montana State University
  • Yuka Tsutsui – Montana State University
  • Hailey Gelzer -Montana State University
  • Wyatt Cross – Montana State University

Salmonfly Emergence Variability

ptdc0031I worked with Heidi Anderson at MSU in the Summer of 2016 to assess the population viability of salmonflies (Pteronarcys californica) in the Gallatin and Madison Rivers of southwestern Montana. The large hatches of salmonflies are an important food source for trout and as such bring many anglers to the state. However, some anglers believe hatches are smaller than in the past and it is our mission with this study to find out if that is true or not. We are conducting field work to assess the size of current hatches and stonefly health and comparing these to records from state agencies, private corporations, and individual anglers, guides, and fly shops.

Collaborators:

  • Heidi Anderson – Montana State University
  • Lindsey Albertson – Montana State University