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J. Ryan Bellmore

J. Ryan Bellmore
Research Fish Biologist
Land and Watershed Management
11175 Auke Lake Way
Juneau, AK 99801
United States
Current Research

"Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Freshwater ecosystems provide invaluable services to society, but are among the most imperiled environments on Earth. My research aims to illuminate the often invisible mechanisms that support freshwater ecosystem productivity and resilience, and use this knowledge to contribute to better-informed stewardship. My research employs holistic, ecosystem-based approaches that combine tools and theory from food-web ecology, ecosystem ecology, and system dynamics modeling.

Current research themes include: (1) synthesizing ecological impacts of dam removal, (2) investigating the influence of landscape complexity on river food webs, (3) quantifying the impact of ecological subsidies on rivers, (4) assessing the impacts of climate change of Pacific salmon, and (5) developing system dynamics models to inform freshwater restoration and management.

Past Research
Much of my past research has focused on river-floodplain ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and the importance of these floodplains for fish. My dissertation research at Idaho State University illustrated that floodplains support diverse food webs that are important for Pacific salmon and trout. Moreover, this reseach suggested that these complex and interconnected food webs may promote the long-term maintenance of biodiversity by stabalizing ecosystems against perterbations.
Research Interest
  • Structure and dynamics of river food webs
  • Restoration of freshwater ecosystems
  • System dynamics modeling
  • Ecology and management of Pacific salmon and trout
  • Impact of Invasive species on aquatic ecosystems
Why This Research Is Important
Healthy rivers, streams and lakes directly contribute to human wellbeing. In the Pacific Northwest, for instance, forest streams support valuable commercial, recreational, and subsistence salmon fisheries. By illuminating how these ecosystem's function, my research contributes to informed management and restoration so that these freshwater resources can be enjoyed by future generations
  • Idaho State University, Ph.D., Biology, 2011
  • Oregon State University, B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, 2004
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Predicting Ecosystem Recovery After Dam Removal

Year: 2019
Aquatic ecosystem recovery is a main goal of dam removal, but predicting exactly how an ecosystem will recover is complicated. New models offer further insight for managers into the connections between the components and pathways likely to determine ecosystem response to dam removal in different loc...

Restoration of freshwater biodiversity important for maintaining healthy salmon fisheries

Year: 2018
Streams with greater biodiversity appear more resilient to environmental change compared to streams with lower biodiversity. The value of protecting or restoring biodiversity in streams used by salmon can be quantified as economic benefits to the commercial fishing industry.

After the dam comes down

Year: 2017
New work synthesizes knowledge about the physical and ecological responses to dam removal.

Illuminating Nature’s Invisible Fabric

Year: 2016
Forest Service scientists conducted a series of studies to understand how river fish are connected to the broader food web. They then used this knowledge to develop modeling tools that can inform restoration and fisheries management.