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Andrew Brainard receives PhD in ecology

Andrew Brainard, PhD

OBG’s Andrew Brainard, an ecologist specializing in limnology (the study of lakes and ponds) and aquatic ecology, has received a PhD in ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). 

Researching the impact of invasive aquatic species 

Andrew achieved his PhD for his dissertation research focused on the spread and impact of invasive aquatic species. As part of this research, Andrew investigated the impacts of starry stonewort—an invasive macroalgae—that is rapidly spreading throughout the northeastern and midwestern regions of the U.S. During his research, Andrew co-authored one of the first papers in the field to document negative impacts of starry stonewort on native aquatic plants within its invasive range.

His research also focused on factors promoting the establishment and abundance of aquatic plants in lake ecosystems, as well as the role of climate change on macroinvertebrate communities in the Great Lakes.     

Contributing expertise in ecology to OBG 

At OBG, Andrew has contributed his ecological expertise to the design and implementation of various projects. Specifically, he led the design of habitat restoration and enhancements following dredging in a tributary to the Hudson River. The design included variable bathymetric depths and the placement of habitat structures to support a variety of fish species, including federally-listed threatened and endangered species. He also mapped the submerged aquatic vegetation in the Niagara River to identify, in part, the extent to which aquatic vegetation is providing valuable habitat. 

Currently, Andrew leads habitat and biological community assessments (i.e., vegetation, fish, and wildlife) in the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern (AOC) to evaluate beneficial use impairments, including the identification of future restoration opportunities that could help facilitate removing this area from the AOC list.

Achieving his PhD underscores Andrew’s contributions as a subject matter expert in aquatic ecology, and elevates the already leading natural resource and restoration services OBG provides to clients. 

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