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Ryan Peek

Bridging Troubled Waters: Merging Disciplines for Conservation in Freshwater Ecosystems

About the Talk:

California’s watersheds have changed dramatically over the last 150 years. Understanding the impact these changes have had on freshwater organisms, and how current and future changes may impact the remaining freshwater communities is important for conservation, and prioritization of resources for more effective management. I am particularly interested in how we can leverage novel methodologies across disciplines to aid our understanding and assessment of the environments we manage. I will discuss several different studies which focus on linking genetic tools with hydrologic alteration, including the impacts of river regulation on a sentinel frog species, testing for hybridization near the edge of two sensitive/endangered frog species in California, and broad landscape-level analyses linking ecological and hydrological flow relationships in freshwater organisms



Ryan completed his PhD in Ecology in 2018 at UC Davis, with a certificate in Conservation Management. Ryan grew up in the Central Valley of California, and completed his undergraduate degree in Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology at UC Davis in 2002, and his master’s degree in Conservation Biology at the University of San Francisco in 2010, where he studied the effects of river regulation on gene flow and genetic diversity in foothill yellow-legged frogs in the Sierra Nevada. His research spans population genetics of amphibians, floodplain food webs, hydrology, and conservation ecology. In particular, he has been studying the impacts of river regulation on foothill yellow-legged frogs using population genetics, statewide environmental flow assessments, and carbon processing in floodplain systems in California.

Dr. Peek is interested in continuing to bridge the fields of conservation genomics, hydrology, and ecology to better understand freshwater ecosystems. He has worked extensively with sensitive frog species, including a mountain/sierra yellow-legged frog restoration project with the National Park Service; as an environmental consultant with Stillwater Sciences working on biological assessment and monitoring in numerous hydropower relicensing projects in CA and OR; and with the US Forest Service in a collaborative project studying and summarizing data on foothill yellow-legged frogs. Along with several other ecology graduate students, Ryan co-founded the Aggie Brickyard magazine to serve as a conduit for communicating science and research among students and faculty, and leverage the diversity of expertise that exists in our community. He is also a data science Carpentries Instructor, coordinator of the Davis R-Users Group, and serves as a river guide and lecturer for the ecogeomorphology class at UC Davis.