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  • WATERLINE - June, 2013

    WALPA Scholarship winners – where are they now?

    Catching up with Eric Larson

    Larson_WallaceFallsEric Larson received WALPA’s Nancy Weller Memorial Scholarship in 2008 while doing his PhD research at the University of Washington. Eric’s research focused on understanding the distributions, habitat associations, and potential range expansions of invasive invertebrates in Pacific Northwest lakes, with an emphasis on crayfish. Research funded by this WALPA scholarship has recently been published in journals including Biology Letters, Freshwater Biology and Freshwater Science (cites below).

    One result of Eric’s research was finding non-native crayfish, including the highly invasive red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii, established in 15 of 100 lakes surveyed in the Puget Sound lowlands. Most of these crayfish invasions were associated with heavily urbanized small watersheds, which led Eric and his adviser Julian Olden to target outreach and education efforts on urban lakes of western Washington. These efforts included presentations and educational materials delivered to classrooms that use non-native crayfish for student experiments to discourage their release to the wild. Results of Eric’s research are also being used in a pilot study coordinating citizen scientists to control red swamp crayfish in Washington’s Pine Lake (http://depts.washington.edu/oldenlab/pine-lake/). Eric also used crayfish as trophic tracers of shoreline urbanization’s effects on lake food webs, and conducted a major study on the genetics and distribution of native Pacific Northwest crayfish.

    After graduating from the University of Washington in December 2011, Eric began post-doctorate work in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Eric currently works with partners like The Nature Conservancy to better integrate economics into decision-making for conservation science and management. Eric remains interested in freshwater ecology and management and continues to collaborate on a number of projects in the Pacific Northwest and internationally. Eric married his long-time girlfriend Carolyn in the winter of 2013, and the two spend as much time as they can in the mountains with their dogs.

    Larson, E.R. and J.D. Olden. 2013. Crayfish occupancy and abundance in lakes of the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. Freshwater Science 32:94-107.

    Larson, E.R., C.L. Abbott, N. Usio, N. Azuma, K.A. Wood, L.-M. Herborg and J.D. Olden. 2012. The signal crayfish is not a single species: cryptic diversity and invasions in the Pacific Northwest range of Pacifastacus leniusculus. Freshwater Biology 57:1823-1838.

    Larson, E.R., J.D. Olden and N. Usio. 2011. Shoreline urbanization interrupts allochthonous subsidies to a benthic consumer over a gradient of lake size. Biology Letters 7:551-554.