Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Staff Member


Dr. Robert Smith

Education

  • Ph D University of Maryland 2012
  • MS University of Maryland 2006
  • BS Millserville University 2000

Biography

I joined the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Department of Environmental Conservation, UMASS-Amherst in September 2012 as a postdoctoral research associate mentored by Dr. Allison Roy. I am funded by a National Science Foundation, Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship for three years.

Teaching Interest

As a graduate student, I worked as a teaching assistant for numerous classes across several disciplines. This included working for classes in mammalian physiology, paleobiology, honors introductory biology, and even a summer course in forensic sciences for junior high students. In particular, I excelled at teaching classes in entomology and aquatic macroinvertebrate taxonomy. I won four teaching awards for my work as a TA at the University of Maryland.

Research Interest

I am generally interested in understanding how human activities alter the structure of communities in stream ecosystems. My approach to research in urban stream ecology is to apply basic and theoretical concepts in general ecology to understanding the mechanisms that govern the ecology of urban streams. My graduate work examined the importance of dispersal constraints (a regional process) versus in-stream habitat and water quality (a local process) for structuring insect communities in urban headwater streams. I approached this question at the organismal, community, and landscape levels using a combination of field and lab studies and GIS analysis. I found that both dispersal constraints and poor in-stream conditions likely contributed to low larval diversity in urban headwaters. My SEES research will expand on this by examining the effects of dispersal constraints on stream fish and insect community composition. I will also examine how land acquisition strategies affect local (in-stream water quality) and regional (landscape scale dispersal patterns) processes structuring stream biodiversity in a partially urbanized landscape.

Research Publications Publication Date
Thompson, K.V., T.J. Cooke, W.F. Fagan, D. Gulick, D. Levy, K.C. Nelson, E.F. Redish, R.F. Smith, and J. Presson. 2013. Infusing quantitative approaches throughout the biological sciences curriculum. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2013.812754 | Abstract July 2013
Smith, R.F., L.C. Alexander, and W.O. Lamp. 2009. Dispersal by terrestrial stages of stream insects in urban watersheds: synthesis of current knowledge. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 28:1022-1037. | Abstract December 2009
Smith, R.F. and W.O. Lamp. 2008. Comparison of insect communities between adjacent headwater and main-stem streams in urban and rural watersheds. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27:161-175. | Abstract December 2008
Leslie, A.W., R.F. Smith, D. Ruppert, K. Bejleri, J. M. McGrath, B.A. Needleman, and W.O. Lamp. 2012. Environmental factors structuring benthic invertebrate communities of agricultural ditches in Maryland. Environmental Entomology 41:802-812. | Abstract December 2012
Kenney, M.A., A.E. Sutton-Grier, R.F. Smith, and S.E. Gresens. 2009. Benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality: The intersection of science and policy. Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews 2:99-128. | Abstract December 2009
Cheney, K.N., A.H. Roy, R.F. Smith, and R.E. DeWalt. 2019. Effects of stream temperature and substrate type on emergence patterns of Plecoptera and Trichoptera from Northeastern United States headwater streams. Environmental Entomology 48:1349-1359. DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvz106 | Publisher Website September 2019
Presentations Presentation Date
Smith, R.F., J. Blaszczak, B. Bledsoe, T. Parr, A.H. Roy, M. Scoggins, R. Utz, and S. Wenger. 2017. A summary of SUSE4: making urban stream rehabilitation a co-evolutionary process. Annual Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, 4-9 June 2017, Raleigh, NC. June 2017
Smith, R.F., G.C. Gunderson, and A.H. Roy. 2015. Catchment land use and dispersal barriers affect fish and insect assemblage composition in urban streams. Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, 9-14, August 2015, Baltimore, MD August 2015
Smith, R.F., A.H. Roy, and R.L. Ryan. 2015. Are conservation lands good for streams? Assessing the spatial relationships of conservation lands to stream ecosystems in Massachusetts. New England Association of Environmental Biologists, 18-20 2015, Bartlett, NH. March 2015
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2017. Exploring the importance of catchment land use and dispersal barriers for fish and insect assemblage composition in human-dominated landscapes. Meeting of the US Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), 9-13 April 2017, Baltimore, MD. April 2017
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2015. The effect of dispersal barriers on stream fish and insect assemblages in urban landscapes. Annual Meeting of the Society for Freshwater Science, 17-21 May 2015, Milwaukee, WI. May 2015
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2014. Thinking outside the shed: Examining landscape characteristics as part of management strategies for sustaining stream ecosystems. Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 18-22 May 2014, Portland, OR. May 2014
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2014. Landscape and watershed predictors of insect and fish assemblage in Massachusetts streams. Annual Meeting of the New England Association of Environmental Biologists, 26-28 March 2014, Burlington, VT. March 2014
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2014. How watershed and landscape land use are related should guide investigations of dispersal by stream biota in urbanizing landscapes. Third Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology, 15-17 May 2014, Portland, Oregon. May 2014
Smith, R.F. and A.H. Roy. 2013. Comparing insect and fish assemblage responses to urbanization for sustainable management of stream ecosystems. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. 10-13 November 2013. November 2013
Roy, A.H., K.A. Capps, R. El-Sabaawi, K.L. Jones, T.B. Parr, A. Ramirez, R.F. Smith, C.J. Walsh, and S.J. Wenger. 2014. Global differences in urbanization and stream ecology: a synthesis. Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 18-22 May 2014, Portland, OR. May 2014
Roy, A.H., D.S. Armstrong, M.E. Baker, C.N. Bentsen, R.F. Smith, and J.T. Stolarksi. 2020. Unpacking fish responses to impervious cover in Massachusetts. Southern New England American Fisheries Society Winter Meeting, 13-14 January 2020, Cambridge, MA. January 2020
Roy, A.H. and R.F. Smith. 2014. Investigating impacts of landscape development on stream fish and insect dispersal. Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, 17-21 August 2014, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. August 2014
Cheney, K.N., A.H. Roy, and R.F. Smith. 2014. Spatial and temporal variation in aquatic insect emergence from headwater streams in New England. Annual Meeting of the New England Association of Environmental Biologists, 26-28 March 2014, Burlington, VT. March 2014
Cheney, K.N., A.H. Roy, and R.F. Smith. 2014. Spatial and temporal variation in Plecoptera and Trichoptera emergence from headwater streams. Jount Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 18-22 May 2014, Portland, OR May 2014