About Jim Craft

Jim Craft came to the University of Montana in the mid 80's to study aquatic biology expecting to return to Delaware for graduate school studying marine/estuary biology. However, the pristine ecosystems and friendly atmosphere in Montana kept Jim from ever wanting to leave. He started working at the Biological Station in 1988. The opportunity to work at the Biological Station and continue his education here was a perfect fit. Flathead Lake may not be the Atlantic Ocean, but it is the "Jewel in the Crown of the Continent". In the fall you can catch Jim at Washington Grizzly Stadium rooting on the mighty Griz.

Education

  • BS Wildlife Biology, Aquatic Option - University of Montana 1986
  • MS Organismal and Biological Ecology - University of Montana 1998

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on large lake and floodplain ecology. Investigating the complex physical, chemical and biological interactions in Flathead Lake and the Kalispell and Nyack floodplains over the past 25+ years with Dr. Bonnie Ellis and Dr. Jack Stanford has been very rewarding. I have a special interest in algal ecology and taxonomy. Plus, I have enjoyed research projects throughout the Flathead watershed including lakes in Glacier National Park, the Flathead Valley and Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Outside of research I am active with the community mentoring area high school and college students. I also have an open boat policy if anyone wants to spend a day on Flathead Lake and learn about our current research. Combining world class research with community outreach is important to me.

Current Projects

My current projects include investigating long-term trends in Flathead and Whitefish Lake. Both projects enable us to further the scholastic understanding of the interactions taking place in large lake ecosystems, plus they are very important to the local community and the state as a whole.

Current research on Flathead Lake with Dr. Bonnie Ellis and new comer Dr. Shawn Devlin is centered on developing a physical-biological coupled model for Flathead Lake. Over the last few years we expanded our routine sampling to encompass extensive lake-wide sampling in conjunction with the addition of a series of weather stations on and around the lake and two automated vertical profilers in the lake. The model will help us understand and predict changes in the ecology Flathead Lake under different potential scenarios.

Current research on Whitefish Lake emphasizes long-term changes in the algal community biomass and primary productivity. This project is done in conjunction with the Whitefish Lake Institute. This collaborative effort was in response to a limnological study of Whitefish Lake in 2002 (Craft et al., 2003) that was a follow up to an initial study by Golnar and Stanford in 1983.

Findings of the 2002 study included an increase in primary productivity from 69 to 106 g C m-2 yr-1, an increase in phytoplankton biomass from 0.20 to 0.33 cm3 m-3, and an increase in mean maximum chlorophyll a from 1.0 to 1.8 mg L-1 between 1983 and 2002.

Selected Publications and Reports

  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2011). "Long-term effects of a trophic cascade in a large lake ecosystem." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108(3): 1070–1075.
  • Ellis, B. K. and J. A. Craft (2008). Trophic status and trends in water quality for Volunteer Monitoring Program lakes in northwestern Montana, 1993–2007. Polson, Prepared for Flathead Basin Commission, Kalispell, Montana by Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 43.
  • Hauer, F. R., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2007). Aquatic ecosystem health. Sustaining Rocky Mountain Landscapes: Science, Policy, and Management of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. A. Prato and D. Fagre. Washington, RFF Press: 117–134.
  • Craft, J. A., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2005). Investigating water quality in Lake McDonald, Final Report. Polson, Report prepared for Glacier National Park, National Park Service, West Glacier, Montana by Flathead Lake Biological Station. Montana: 22.
  • Craft, J. A. and B. K. Ellis (2004). Groundwater nutrient assessment of selected shallow aquifers in the North Flathead Valley and Flathead Lake perimeter area, northwest Montana. Polson, Prepared for Flathead Basin Commission, Kalispell, Montana by Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 42.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2003). "Plankton communities of alpine and subalpine lakes in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A., 1984 - 1990." Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 28(3): 1542–1550.
  • Craft, J. A., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2003). Whitefish Lake Water Quality 2003. Polson, Prepared for Whitefish County Water and Sewer District, Whitefish, Montana by Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 43.
  • Craft, J. A., J. A. Stanford, et al. (2003). Microbial respiration within a floodplain aquifer of a large gravel-bed river. Freshwater Biology 47(2): 251-261.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Craft, et al. (2001). Monitoring water quality in Flathead Lake, Montana, 2001 Progress Report. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 34.
  • Bansak, T. S., B. K. Ellis, et al. (2000). Water Quality in Cat and Dog Creeks, Swan River Basin, Montana April 1998 - January 1999. Polson, Prepared for Flathead National Forest by Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 40.
  • Craft, J. A., B. K. Ellis, et al. (1999). Water quality monitoring of Lion Creek, Swan River Basin, Montana. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 36.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Craft, et al. (1999). Determination of nutrient and carbon loading in the Swan River, Montana. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 38.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Stanford, et al. (1999). Influences of forest harvest on water quality in Goat Creek, Swan River Basin, Montana. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 38.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Craft, et al. (1998). Baseline water quality study of Little Bitterroot, Mary Ronan, Ashley and Lindbergh Lakes, Montana. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 93 + appendices
  • Stanford, J. A., B. K. Ellis, et al. (1997). Water Quality Data and Analyses to Aid in the Development of Revised Water Quality Targets for Flathead Lake, Montana. Polson, Prepared for The Flathead Basin Commission, Kalispell, Montana by Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 154 + appendices.
  • Butler, N. M., J. A. Craft, et al. (1995). A diagnostic study of the nutrient loading at Swan Lake, Montana. Swan Lake Clean Lakes Project, Phase One, Clean Lakes Program, USEPA, Denver, CO. Polson, Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 76.
  • Ellis, B. K., J. A. Stanford, et al. (1992). Monitoring water quality of selected lakes in Glacier National Park, Montana: Analysis of data collected, 1984-1990. Polson, National Park Service, Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana and Flathead Lake Biological Station, The University of Montana. Montana: 32+.