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Reuben R Goforth

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Associate Professor of Aquatic Ecosystems
FORS Room 111A
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033

Dr. Reuben Goforth's website

I have long been fascinated by aquatic ecosystems, and I started my education as an undergraduate student of biological sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina (where I grew up). After finishing my BS in biological sciences, I entered the MS program in aquaculture, fisheries and wildlife at Clemson where my research focused on the life history and ecology of the yellowfin shiner (Notropis lutipinnis). After completing my MS, I entered the PhD program in natural resources at Cornell University where my work focused on studies of relationships between stream communities and human land uses. Since completing my PhD, my expertise has broadened to include studies of fish, aquatic insects, unionoid clams, and zooplankton in large rivers, inland lakes, and Great Lakes nearshore areas. This expertise is strongly founded on field-based experiments, observations, and surveys to collect data that support my efforts to explore site- and habitat-specific community relationships. I have also used these data to explore relationships between aquatic communities and multi-scale environmental data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. My objectives in conducting these studies are to provide greater insight into the ecological mechanisms that support and sustain native biodiversity and to more explicitly identify threats to ecological functions, species persistence, and community stability over multiple spatial scales. 

I have particular interest in using a combination of manipulative field ecological studies and GIS spatial analyses to observe and model responses of aquatic communities to patterns and changes in watershed (streams, rivers, and inland lakes) and shoreline (large rivers, and Great Lakes nearshore areas) environmental properties over multiple spatial scales. I am also very interested in the integration of temporal factors into spatially explicit models given the importance of temporally driven events (e.g., migration, reproduction, dispersal, etc.) for determining community structure. Such temporal effects are generally not considered in this type of modeling despite seasonal shifts in community composition and highly variable, temporally inconsistent data resulting from “snapshot” approaches to sampling. I believe that the inclusion of temporal phenomena in such modeling efforts would enrich our understanding of aquatic community patterns and responses to perturbation (natural and anthropogenic) within multi-scale contexts of landscapes. Such understanding can better inform conservation and planning strategies aimed at enhancing the long-term viability of aquatic biodiversity within existing fragmented landscapes and landscapes that are subject to significant development pressures now and in the future.

Research Group - Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Facilities - Aquatic Analytical LabAquatic Ecology Research Lab

Awards & Honors

(2019) David C. Pfendler Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award. Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

(2019) Teaching for Tomorrow Fellow. Center for Instructional Excellence, Office of the Provost, Purdue University.

(2018) North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Educator Award. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

(2018) David C. Pfendler Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award. Purdue University College of Agriculture.

(2018) Professors Reviewing Excellent Practices (PREP). College of Agriculture, Purdue University.

(2017) Learning Community Academic Connection Award. Purdue Learning Communities Program.

(2016) Unsung Diversity Hero Award. Purdue College of Agriculture Diversity Action Team in Agriculture.

Selected Publications

Prechtel, A. R., Coulter, A. A., Etchison, L., Jackson, P. R., & Goforth, R. R. (2018). Range estimates and habitat use of Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix: evidence of sedentary and mobile individuals. Lucas Etchison, 805(1), 203-218. doi:DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3296-y

Erickson, R. A., Rees, C. B., Coulter, A. A., Merkes, C. M., McCalla, S. G., Touzinsky, K. F., . . . Amberg, J. J. (2016). Detecting the movement and spawning activity of bigheaded carps with environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology Resources, 16(4), 957-965. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12533

Coulter, A. A., Keller, D., Bailey, E. J., & Goforth, R. R. (2016). Predictors of bigheaded carp drifting egg density and spawning activity in an invaded, free-flowing river. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 42(1), 83-89. doi:

Amberg, J., Goforth, R., & Sepulveda, M. (2013). Antagonists to the Wnt Cascade Exhibit Sex-specific Expression in Gonads of Sexually Mature Shovelnose Sturgeon. Sexual Development, 7(6), 308-315.

Coulter, A., Keller, D., Amberg, J., Bailey, E., & Goforth, R. (2013). Phenotypic Plasticity in the Spawning Traits of Bigheaded Carp (Hypophthalmichthys spp.) in Novel Ecosystems. Freshwater Biology, 58(5), 1029-1037.

Keitzer, S., & Goforth, R. (2013). Salamander Diversity Alters Stream Macroinvertebrate Community Structure. Freshwater Biology, 58(10), 2114-2125.

Keitzer, S., & Goforth, R. (2013). Spatial and Seasonal Variation in the Ecological Significance of Nutrient Recycling by Larval Salamanders in Appalachian Headwater Streams. Freshwater Science, 32, 1136-1147.

Goforth, R., & Bain, M. (2012). Assessing stream integrity based on interpretations of map-based riparian and subbasin properties. Landscape and Ecological Engineering, 8(1), 33-43. Retrieved from http://DOI: 10.1007/s11355-010-0138-8

Nutile, S., Amberg, J., Sepulveda, M., & Goforth, R. (2012). Effects of Multiple Electrical Field Exposures on Cyprinid Embryo Survival. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 32(5), 875-879. Retrieved from http://DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2012.699017

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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