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Kellie Carim

Kellie Carim
Research Ecologist
Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
790 E. Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-4421
United States
Current Research
In September 2021, I joined the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute as a Research Ecologist. I’m in the early stages of building my research program which will draw upon my expertise in aquatic ecology and genetic applications to inform wilderness stewardship, and understand the benefits of wilderness to populations, ecosystems, and landscapes. In this position, I look forward to working with diverse partners to provide a more comprehensive perspective on management and conservation of aquatic systems in a wilderness.
Past Research
As an Aquatic Research Biologist at the USFS National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation, my research focused on using genetics tools and information to inform management and conservation of freshwater fish. My projects ranged from using environmental DNA to understand the presence and distribution various species in response to management activities (such as expansion of native species following habitat restoration or eradication of invasive species following removal efforts), to genetic assignment to identify source populations feeding active species invasions and phylogenetic analysis to understand taxonomy of understudied freshwater fish. In this position, I worked with a diverse group of partners, including tribal, federal, state, and non-profit organizations and agencies. This collaborative approach promoted more comprehensive management efforts, helping diverse partners reach common management goals.
Research Interest
My research interests are broad and have explored questions related to species distributions, habitat suitability and connectivity, phylogenetic classification, genetic diversity, and life history dynamics of both native and invasive aquatic species. I enjoy taking a collaborative approach to research, and believe that a diversity of perspectives is necessary to ensure the greatest success of research and management activities.
Why This Research Is Important
There is a paucity of research at the intersection aquatic systems and wilderness stewardship, yet the need for this work is greater than ever. Wilderness buffers landscapes from negative impacts of floods and drought, and provides refuge for a wide range of aquatic species and communities. As climate change continues to impact the natural world, more information is needed to inform stewardship of wilderness to protect aquatic communities and ecosystems, and to better understand the role of wilderness in broader landscape sustainability.
Professional Experience
  • Ph.D. Fish and Wildlife Biology (2013),  University of Montana,  -
  • B.A. Biology (2006),  Carleton College,  -
  • Research Ecologist,  Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute - RMRS,  2021 - Current
  • Aquatic Research Biologist,  National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation - RMRS and University of Montana,  2016 - 2021
  • Environmental DNA Program Lead,  National Genomic Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation - RMRS,  2014 - 2016
Other Publications
Citations of Non-Forest Service Publications
  • Young, M.K., D.J. Isaak, M. Schwartz, K. McKelvey, D. Nagel, T. Franklin, S. Greaves, J. Dysthe, K. Pilgrim, G. Chandler, S. Wollrab, K. Carim, T. Wilcox, S. Parkes-Payne, and D. Horan. 2018. Species occurrence data from the aquatic eDNAtlas database. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.
Research Highlights

No Fish Left Behind: Using eDNA Sampling to Inform Fish Eradication Efforts

Year: 2020
Environmental DNA methods are highly sensitive and accurate, making them ideal for detecting animals at low densities. However, this tool also comes with its own unique set of challenges when applied to efforts to eradicate invasive species. This research explores the use of eDNA for evaluating inva...