Andrew L. Rypel - PI

Degrees: B.A. Saint Louis University; M.S. Auburn University; Ph.D. University of Alabama

Research Interests: Fish Ecology; Conservation Science; Ecosystem Ecology; Global Change; Macroecology; Fisheries Management; Freshwater Mussels

I am an Associate Professor and the Peter B. Moyle and California Trout Chair in Coldwater Fish Ecology at University of California, Davis in the Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology. I am also the Co-Director for the Center for Watershed Sciences. I believe human societies must strive to leave healthier ecosystems and fisheries to future generations. Over time, I have been involved on a wide range of basic and applied research, but most of my efforts center on creating actionable science-based solutions, and assisting conservation professionals, on problems commonly encountered in freshwater ecosystems and fisheries.

My general approach to science is four-legged; incorporating theory, manipulation, empirical observation (especially long-term ecological research and large data synthesis), and quantitative models. I am also passionate about transfer and translation of ecological research to the broader public, and in training the next generation of scientists to be leaders in this art.

Contact Information; Email:; Office: 1369 Academic Surge; Phone: 530.752.9567; Mailing address: Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA USA 95616

Google Scholar:

Twitter: @andrewrypel

NCEAS working groups:

LTER Synchrony:

Community Dynamics:

Graduate Students and Post Docs

Lauren G. Hitt - Ph.D. Student

Degrees: B.S. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, B.A. Classical Studies, Tulane University

Research Interests: Restoration Ecology, Community Ecology, Integrative Conservation Biology & Management, Aquatic Ecology, Community Engagement & Outreach

I am interested in understanding long-term effects of Chinook salmon reestablishment in the Putah Creek ecosystem of northern California using a combination of field and computational methods. I have a particular interest in developing community outreach initiatives, engaging local stakeholders, and promoting public awareness of Putah Creek's fish species of conservation concern in order to develop integrative, community-based conservation & management recommendations. My previous research projects include studies of evolution in experimentally introduced fish populations in Trinidad and Alaska, effects of anthropogenic lead exposure on urban-dwelling birds, behavioral ecology of Australian songbirds, and ecological drivers influencing bird breeding at Denali National Park.


Rachelle Tallman - Ph.D. Student

Degrees: B.S. University of California, Santa Cruz

Research Interests: Fisheries Management; Conservation Science; Fisheries Policy; Fish Ecology

I’m interested in collaborative and innovative approaches to improving fisheries conservation and management. My current research is focused on exploring the potential for agricultural rice fields to be used in the conservation of native fishes in the Central Valley. Juvenile Chinook salmon once reared on vast floodplains throughout the Central Valley during their out-migration to the Pacific Ocean. While most of these natural floodplains are now gone, flooded agricultural fields exist that could function as surrogate floodplains for salmon. This work is forging unique collaborations between agricultural and conservation groups in California to find solutions for declining fishes, especially salmon.


Parsa Saffarinia – Postdoctoral Scholar

Degrees: B.A., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of California, Riverside

Research Interests: Freshwater ecology; Global Change; Aquatic Invertebrates; Algae; Fish Ecology; Conservation Science; Restoration Ecology; Community Ecology; Environmental Policy

I am interested in how river flow variability drives aquatic community composition, and how water distribution can be used in innovative ways to promote biodiversity in light of global change. As an aspiring interdisciplinary water scholar, I am enthusiastic about engaging stakeholders when working on conservation issues in freshwater systems, as water is an increasingly impacted resource. Using experimental, observational, and statistical modeling approaches, I have projects investigating the effects of long-term drought on aquatic insect communities, and determining how hydrograph metrics drive community turnover at the catchment scale. Additionally, I am involved with the conservation of the federally listed Santa Ana Sucker by investigating basal food web resources.

For my postdoctoral work, I am part of an interdisciplinary team of stakeholders working in the Central Valley floodplain of California on an effort to utilize winter flooded rice fields as zooplankton and Chinook salmon rearing habitat. Flooded rice farms provide critical juvenile floodplain habitat, since over 95% of natural floodplains have been eradicated in the Central Valley of California. Juvenile salmon reared in flooded rice farm habitat can have some of the highest growth rates in the Delta, thanks to strong zooplankton production.

Twitter: @Psaffarinia

Personal website:


Christine Parisek - Ph.D. Student

Degrees: B.S., Saint Mary's College; M.S. California State University Stanislaus

Research Interests: Alpine Ecosystems; Freshwater Science; Ecology

I am currently exploring the abundance, distribution, and food web ecology of California alpine lake ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada. I am interested in the mechanisms that govern lake food web structure and function across heterogeneous mountain landscapes, and in understanding limnology patterns occurring across scales. During my Masters, I conducted work describing the ecology and dispersal potential of aquatic insect communities in the Lakes Basin region of California. Since then I have been increasingly focused on high alpine freshwater ecosystems more broadly as a potential model for testing deeper ecological questions. My work now ranges from local-scale trophic dynamics to global-scale patterns in lake distributions.

Twitter: @caparisek; #sierrafishes project



Mattea Berglund - Ph.D. Student

Degrees: B.S., Brown University

Research Interests: Aquatic Ecology; Fish Ecology; Global Change; Conservation Science; Fisheries Management; Disease Ecology

I am interested in how human drivers impact the health, distribution, and composition of aquatic communities, and how these changes impact resource users. My past research has spanned New England salt marshes, New Jersey artificial reefs, and Alaska salmon hatcheries. Through collaborations with policy makers, managers, and stakeholders, I aim to inform more equitable and effective management and restoration strategies. I am also passionate about communicating science and promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM.


David Ayers - Ph.D. Student

Degrees: B.S. Fishery Resources, Wildlife Resources; University of Idaho

Research Interests: Fish Ecology; Fisheries Conservation and Management; Behavioral Ecology; Animal Bioacoustics; Habitat Restoration; Hydrodynamics

I am interested in understanding how aquatic habitats structure ecological processes and influence fish distribution. I am currently investigating how hydrodynamic, biogeochemical, and diel factors affect fish movement and habitat use in tidal wetlands. To accomplish this, I employ non-invasive imaging sonars to examine how fishes respond to environmental factors across spatiotemporal scales. This approach is intended to contextualize habitat use patterns, elucidate ecological processes, and facilitate effective restoration of tidal wetland habitats for native and imperiled fishes of the Sacramento San-Joaquin River Delta.


Alexandra Wampler - MS Student

Degrees: B.S. University of California, Davis Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology

Research Interests: Fish ecology; population genetics; reconciliation ecology; Chinook Salmon conservation and management

Derrick Alcott - Postdoctoral Scholar

Degrees: B.S. Monmouth University; P.S.M. University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Research Interests: Aquatic Ecology; Restoration Ecology; Predator-prey Interactions; Behavioral Ecology

I enjoy studying interdisciplinary problems in the realm of ecology. I like to use combinations of field studies and mathematical modeling to illuminate key factors influencing sensitive species and habitats. I am particularly interested in the impacts of anthropogenic activity on natural systems and ways to mitigate those effects. Much of my work uses telemetry to track animal movements across space and time. My PhD research was focused on river herring (Alosa spp.) movement behaviors around anthropogenic barriers to their migration, such as tide gates and road-crossings. I also investigated how different predators (e.g. snapping turtles, striped bass) utilized these bottlenecks as ambush locations, further delaying herring migration. My current postdoctoral research at UC Davis is focused on developing a practice standard for rice farmers in California’s Central Valley to flood their fields in winter, providing valuable nursery habitat for juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The practice of flooding the rice farms may have mutual benefits for the farms, fish, birds, and more. We plan to assess what species inhabit these flooded rice fields and if the fields can improve salmon survival to the ocean.


Scott Colborne – Postdoctoral Scholar

Degrees: B.Sc., University of Guelph; M.Sc., University of Guelph; Ph.D., University of Western Ontario

Research Interests: Freshwater ecology; Fish ecology; Conservation Science; Trophic ecology; Spatial ecology; Biotelemetry; Stable isotopes

I am interested in describing variability in behaviors of wild fish communities and understanding how these insights can be integrated into conservation and management practices. I have studied a variety of freshwater fishes ranging from juvenile yellow perch and sunfishes to lake sturgeon. Most of my projects engage in aspects of trophic ecology (stable isotope analysis) and spatial ecology (biotelemetry, especially acoustic telemetry) to ask questions about wild fish populations.

For my postdoctoral work with the Rypel lab, I am part of a team of researchers on the Fish Synchrony project across UC Davis, University of Kansas, and University of Virginia. We are a team of researchers using telemetry tracking of salmonid smolts and sturgeon in the Sacramento River system to answer management-relevant questions about migratory patterns by synthesizing accumulated telemetry data.

Twitter: @sfcolborne



Miranda Bell-Tilcock - Lab Coordinator

Current Position: Lab Coordinator and Assistant Specialist at Center For Watershed Sciences at UC Davis

Twitter: @eyeballMir

Undergraduate Students

Kiana Lindblad - Undergraduate Student

Research interests: Fish Ecology; Fisheries Conservation; Freshwater Science; Ecological Sustainability

I am currently an undergraduate student at UC Davis and am working towards a Bachelor Degree in Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Biodiversity. As an intern in Rypel Lab, I assist with the Sierra Fish Project. This project primarily works with California golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) and explores high alpine food webs. I am also working to digitize a dataset detailing standing stock fish biomass in reservoirs across the United States.

Twitter: @KianaLindblad


Hailey Gleason - Undergraduate Student

Research Interests: Marine Ecology; Fish ecology; Fisheries Conservation; Salmon Ecology and Management

I am currently an undergraduate student working to complete my degree in Environmental Science and Management with an emphasis in marine ecology. I am interested in researching anthropogenic impacts on aquatic ecosystems with a focus on anadromous fish species and marine environments. My hope is to help discover new and innovative ways to integrate science into management decisions that reflect the needs of both the ecosystems and the resource users. I am currently assisting research regarding krill distributions in correlation with different oceanic variables at the Bodega Marine Lab, and as an intern in the Rypel Lab, I have helped with research focused on raising Chinook salmon in flooded agricultural fields.


Visiting Scholars

2019-2020: Laura Twardochleb (PhD Student, Michigan State University)

2018-2019: Morgan Bowen (MS Student, Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana)

Former Students

Colby Hause - MS Student (co-advised with Nann Fangue)

Current Position: Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife


Emily Jacinto - MS Student

Current Position: Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife


Chris Jasper - MS Student (co-advised with John Durand)

Current Position: Biologist with Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting


Miranda Bell-Tilcock - MS Student

Current Position: Assistant Specialist at Center For Watershed Sciences at UC Davis

Twitter: @eyeballMir

Mollie Ogaz - MS Student (co-advised with Carson Jeffres)

Current Position: Assistant Specialist at Center For Watershed Sciences at UC Davis


Gabe Singer - Post Doctoral Scholar

Current Position: California Department of Fish and Wildlife


Francine De Castro - Undergraduate Student

Research Interests: Fish Ecology; Reconciliation Ecology; Ecological Sustainability; Fish Physiology

Current Position: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

I am currently working to complete my undergraduate studies at UCD for a Bachelor's in Environmental Toxicology with a focus in ecology. As an undergrad intern in the Rypel Lab I am working to digitize a decades-long legacy dataset detailing the standing stock fish biomass in reservoirs across the United States. I have also assisted in research rearing Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) on agricultural rice fields, and am also assisting with the rotary screw trap project on Putah Creek.


Adrian Loera- Undergraduate Student

Research interests: Fish Ecology; Fisheries Management, Fish and Water Policy; Science Communication

Current Position: California Trout, Inc.


Sierra Mabanta - Undergraduate Student

Current Position: California Department of Water Resources

I am majoring in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis with a minor in Geographic Information Systems. My involvement in fisheries research started when I began working on the Putah Creek Rotary Screw Trap Project. I spent time as a Fisheries Research Intern over the summer working for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) in Duluth, Minnesota. As an undergraduate intern in the Rypel Lab, I am using morphometric techniques to examine life-history strategies of male bluegill.

Wilson Xiong - Junior Specialist

Nyob Zoo (Hello)! I’m a proud first-generation Hmong American. In my language the word Hmoob (Hmong) means “Free”. I’m from Albemarle, NC and I love everything that deals with fish! I don’t really have a concentrated research interest yet because I want to do it all!

My undergraduate career video!

Elias Tita - Undergraduate Student

Current Position: Grad Student, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Before transferring to UC Davis from Irvine Valley College, I interned at Orange County Coastkeeper where I practiced water stewardship in Southern California. At Davis, I have helped research cellular osmosensing and salinity adaption of euryhaline fishes. Now as a part of the Rypel Lab, I am assisting research that looks at the biomass of different fish species in America’s reservoirs. In fall 2020, I will be attending the University of Manchester to pursue a Masters in Environmental Impact Assessment and Management.


Daisuke Goto (Post Doc, University of Wisconsin - Madison, co-advised with Jake Vander Zanden) - Research Scientist with the Institute of Marine Research, Norway

Bonnie Myers (MS, Virginia Tech University) - PhD Student at NC State University

Matt Weberg (MS, Virginia Tech University) - Fisheries Biologist with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources