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Pascal Irmscher, Ph.D. (Biology) OU Norman, M.Sc. (Geography) UW Madison

My name is Pascal Irmscher, and I have a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program of the Biology Department of the University of Oklahoma at Norman, U.S.A.

I started my academic career at the Geography Department of Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main where I was involved in research projects investigating the effects of changes in land use and gully erosion in semi-arid Spain. A scholarship of the German-American Fulbright Commission allowed me to continue my graduate studies at Geography Department of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where I obtained a Master of Science degree in Physical Geography, Limnology, and Zoology in 2005. For my MS research, I investigated hydraulic parameters that influence the spatial distribution of unionid mussels in the Upper Mississippi River. Due to J1-visa regulations, I had to leave the US for 2 years before I was allowed to continue my academic career at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.


My current research focuses on the fields of stream ecology and biogeography. I utilize native freshwater mussels (Bivalvia, Unionidae) as model organisms to study animal distribution patterns and dispersal strategies. Since adult unionid mussels are sedentary, they have to attach their larval stage (called glochidia) to a suitable fish host that acts as a dispersal agent, to move otherwise relatively immobile mussels upstream, where metamorphosed juvenile mussels drop off their host and drift back downstream.

I use experimental approaches in the laboratory and in the field to investigate the following main questions: 1) What mechanisms and processes are important for the dispersal and subsequent spatial distribution of freshwater mussels in lotic systems? 2) Accounting for hydraulic, morphological, and behavioral factors, how does the spatial distribution of host fishes within a stream affect mussel dispersal and distribution?

This website was created to provide you with basic information about my past and current research, as well as my teaching and work experience. In case you had any questions, I would be looking forward to hearing from you!