Research Assistant Professor - Limnology
About Bonnie Ellis
Fishing for bonefish
Bonnie first traveled to the Flathead to work on the limnology of Flathead Lake in 1978.
Her research at The Flathead Lake Biological Station over the last 30 years has ranged from the physiological ecology of phytoplankton in Flathead Lake to the dynamics of food webs in the lake and in great steelhead rivers of Kamchatka, Russia. When not at work, Bonnie is either fishing or wishing she was fishing.
I am a limnologist with interests in both lake and stream ecosystems. I am most interested in understanding the physical, biological and chemical factors that control the distribution and abundance of biota.
Of the 300 largest lakes in the world, Flathead Lake is one of the most pristine, but water quality is declining. The focus of my Flathead Lake research is on understanding those factors controlling the production of algae. It has been our great fortune to have maintained a long-term record (i.e., 30 years) of phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass and species distribution, nutrient loading, primary productivity, water clarity and many other important chemical and physical parameters. Determining which natural and anthropogenic factors are of greatest importance in regulating primary productivity in the Lake is one of the major goals of my work.
In Kamchatka, Russia, Jack Stanford and I are working with our colleagues from FLBS and Moscow State University to determine the significance of biophysical controls on the varied life history strategies of the steelhead-rainbow trout (Parasalmo (Onchorynchus) mykiss). Much of my work there is concentrated on the major differences in the food webs supporting the predominant life history types and the importance of marine nutrients within the food web of the different study rivers.
Research on the effects of nonnative species introductions to Flathead Lake - Montana Professor
- Ph.D. (Organismal Biology and Ecology): University of Montana,
- M.S. (Biology): North Texas State University, 1980
- B.S. (Biology): Lamar University, 1975
Students preparing to collect zooplankton at Snyder Lake in
Glacier National Park
The focus of Lake Ecology is biogeochemistry of lakes with
emphasis on glacial Flathead Lake and limnological methods
used to study and manage lake ecosystems. Topics include
origin and classification of lakes, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics,
identification and quantification of biota, trophic interactions
in food webs, nutrient cycles, productivity and water quality.
Students analyze data gathered on Flathead and other local
lakes with sophisticated instrumentation, such as computer-controlled
probes deployed from boats and remote sensing of in-lake
conditions from aircraft and satellites, to contrast Flathead
Lake with different lakes in the Flathead Basin and around
the world. Written and oral reports of independent studies