Ricciardi Lab
Invasion Ecology & Aquatic Ecosystems

Redpath Museum & McGill School of Environment
McGill University

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Research Interests

Curriculum Vitae

   Katie Pagnucco
   Sunci Avlijas
   Jaime Grimm
   Dustin Raab
   Andrea Morden

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Invasive Species

Lab News

Graduate Students



Predicting the impacts of nonindigenous freshwater fishes.


My doctoral research aims to identify predictable patterns of impact involving non-native fishes in freshwater aquatic communities, with emphasis on the round goby as a model invader. Previous work by our lab (by R. Kipp, 2010) found evidence that the round goby enhances benthic algal biomass by substantially reducing invertebrate grazer populations at some sites in the St. Lawrence River, but not at others. Understanding the circumstances in which round gobies can trigger impacts that cascade through food webs is necessary in order to forecast impacts at sites prior to invasion. I am exploring goby-mediated trophic cascades through field experiments and multi-site surveys. I am also using meta-analyses to link variation in the impacts of introduced fishes in general to biotic and abiotic characteristics of recipient communities. Visit my website.

Katie Pagnucco


Spatio-temporal variation in the colonization success and impacts of globally invasive freshwater fishes.


My research investigates patterns of colonization and impact of invasive freshwater fishes. My model species include the Round Goby and the Tench (Tinca tinca). The latter is a Eurasian species that has been introduced globally. I am taking a large-scale approach to understanding context-dependent variation across local, regional and biogeographic scales, using a combination of field surveys, functional response experiments and morphometric (shape space) analysis. My field work is currently being conducted in various areas of North American and South Africa.



Impacts of native and non-native crayfishes in relation to water temperature.


My M.Sc. research is generally focused on the context-dependent impacts of aquatic invasive species on recipient communities. I use crayfish (Orconectes spp.) as model organisms to assess impact in terms of resource consumption using functional response experiments. Similar to previous work done on crustaceans in our lab (by Josie Iacarella), my research looks at how impacts of aquatic invasive species shift under the influence of environmental variables, surface water temperatures. I am comparing native and invasive crayfishes under changing thermal regimes. I am also investigating variation in other traits, such as aggression and territoriality, to determine their impact on native biodiversity.



Factors affecting the success and impact of fish invasions in tributaries.


I am interested in the relationship between non-indigenous fish invasions and riverine habitat modification - particularly dams and impoundments. Once important aids to navigation and sources of power, dams are increasingly viewed as outdated, obsolete obstructions to the natural flow of rivers. In invaded watersheds, such as the Laurentian Great Lakes, there is concern that dam removal may facilitate the colonization of tributary river systems by aquatic invasive species. On the other hand, reservoir habitat created by dams is particularly vulnerable to invasion by non-indigenous fishes such as Round Goby and Common Carp. Through a combination of field surveys and experimental work, I am developing models to predict outcomes of dam removal on the distribution and impact of non-indigenous fishes in Great Lakes tributaries. My work will identify the environmental conditions and infrastructure that facilitate or inhibit the spread, establishment, and impacts of invasive fishes to aid in decision-making for flow restoration projects. Visit my website.

Dustin Raab


The northern range expansion of the invasive subtropical bivalve Corbicula fluminea (the Asian clam).


My research focuses on the invasive Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) and the causes of its recent northern expansion. Specifically, I am studying Asian clam populations in upper New York State and southwestern Ontario to explore the environmental factors related to their persistence in northern temperate lakes. My work investigates the environmental conditions that allow Asian clam populations to persist at these sites despite prolonged exposure to low-temperature and low-oxygen conditions during winter.  I am also exploring potential dispersal mechanisms of the Asian clam through lentic systems, and rates and stages of Asian clam shell degradation in various habitats. The Asian clam has had significant environmental and economic impacts and therefore is of importance to invasive species research and management.

Andrea Morden