Paul Angermeier

Paul Angermeier, Professor

Assistant Leader, Cooperative Research Unit

B.S., Purdue University (1976)
M.S., University of Illinois (1979)
Ph.D., University of Illinois (1982)

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Office: 342 Latham Hall
Phone: (540) 231-4501

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
310 West Campus Drive
Virginia Tech,Cheatham Hall, Room 106 (MC 0321)
Blacksburg, VA 24061


My research is broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of freshwater ecosystems, with an emphasis on five areas: a) population dynamics of imperiled fishes, b) habitat associations of stream fishes, c) ecosystem services provided by watersheds, d) use of biotic communities to assess water quality, and e) impacts of invasive species. His work applies multiple analytical approaches (eg, field surveys, experiments, simulations) to a range of spatial scales (eg, regional landscapes, watersheds, stream reaches, habitat patches). Overarching aims are to advance scientific understanding of how ecosystems (including ecological and socioeconomic components) operate and to make that knowledge available to resource managers and other stakeholders so they are better able to make decisions to promote sustainability.

Courses Taught:

  • Constructing Sustainability
  • Fish Ecology
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Sustainability

Current Research Projects:

Assessment of apparent survival and abundance of Roanoke logperch in response to short-term changes in river flow. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The distribution of Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) is fragmented by several large dams, some of which generate electricity via pulsed releases during periods of peak demand for electricity. We are conducting mark-recapture studies of several fish species to characterize how Roanoke logperch or other small fishes respond to the stream-flow fluctuations created by these dams. Minimizing impacts of hydropower dams on imperiled fishes and improving the recovery of the Roanoke logperch will require a better understanding of the linkages between the temporal variability of flow and fitness characteristics (e.g., survival) as well as population dynamics (e.g., changes in abundance) and habitat use.

Development and application of a multiscale model of habitat suitability for Roanoke logperch. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) are patchily distributed among river drainages, among watersheds within drainages, among stream segments within watersheds, and among channel units (i.e., riffles, pools) within segments. These distributional patterns make conservation planning, management, and recovery actions targeting Roanoke logperch difficult. Thus, a reliable, explicit characterization of Roanoke logperch habitat is still needed. Using data from previous survey efforts, we are currently developing a multiscale habitat suitability model for Roanoke logperch.

Cost-effectiveness of riparian restoration as a recovery tactic for Roanoke logperch. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

To be cost-effective, habitat management and restoration actions (eg, riparian re-vegetation) need to be based on sound knowledge of fine-sediment sources and transport, as well as relations between watershed land cover and suitability of instream habitat for logperch. Presumably, watersheds and riparian zones with greater high filtration capacity (HFC) are likely to provide more suitable habitat for logperch because less fine sediment reaches the receiving streams. If so, restoring HFC vegetation to riparian zones is a reasonable and tractable tactic for improving logperch habitat and promoting recovery. We are examining sediment linkages from the watershed to the riparian zone to instream benthic conditions to better inform managers about where to restore riparian vegetation most cost-effectively.

Phenology and habitat use of larval darters in the upper Roanoke River basin. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Little is known about the timing of emergence or habitat use for larval Roanoke logperch or other darters inhabiting the upper Roanoke River basin. We will use known mitochondrial gene sequences and lab- reared specimens to identify key areas of the upper Roanoke used by larval darters, describe the timing of spawning and larval development, and investigate linkages among water temperature, river discharge, day length, and spawning periods. Furthermore, we will create an identification key using our photographs of larvae, which will allow us to describe developmental changes and monitor growth rates, as well as allow others to study larval darters without the need for genetic analysis.

Assessing habitat impacts on the endangered Roanoke logperch. United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The entire known range of the endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) comprises 4 disjunct areas in Virginia, including the upper Roanoke River and Smith River drainages. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for protecting and recovering logperch associated with their water projects, including the Roanoke River Flood Reduction Project (RRFRP; an extensive suite of channel modifications) and Philpott Reservoir on Smith River. In particular, the USACE must survey their waters for logperch and suitable habitat, and monitor and manage populations therein. We conduct annual field surveys to monitor logperch distribution and abundance and to assess habitat suitability.

Select Recent Publications:

  • Benejam, L., P.L. Angermeier, A. Munné, and E. García-Berthou. 2010. Assessing effects of water abstraction on fish assemblages in Mediterranean streams. Freshwater Biology 55: 628- 642.
  • Frimpong, E.A. and P.L. Angermeier. 2010. Comparative utility of selected frameworks for regionalizing fish-based bioassessments across the United States. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 139: 1872-1895.
  • Hitt, N.P. and P.L. Angermeier. 2011. Fish community and bioassessment responses to stream network position. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 30: 296-309.
  • Lapointe, N.W.R., R.M. Pendleton, and P.L Angermeier. 2012. A comparison of approaches for estimating relative impacts of nonnative fishes. Environmental Management 49: 82–95.
  • Lapointe, N.W.R., J.T. Thorson, and P.L. Angermeier. 2012. Relative roles of natural and anthropogenic drivers of watershed invasibility in riverine ecosystems. Biological Invasions 14: 1931-1945.
  • Roberts, J.H., P.L. Angermeier, and E.M. Hallerman. 2013. Distance, dams and drift: What structures populations of an endangered, benthic stream fish? Freshwater Biology 58: 2050-2064.
  • Villamagna, A.M., P.L, Angermeier, and E.M. Bennett. 2013. Capacity, pressure, demand, and flow: a conceptual framework for analyzing ecosystem service provision and delivery. Ecological Complexity 15: 114-121.
  • Villamagna, A.M., B. Mogollon, and P.L Angermeier. 2014. A multi-indicator framework for mapping cultural ecosystem services: the case of freshwater recreational fishing. Ecological Indicators 45: 255-265.
  • Roberts, J.H., P.L. Angermeier, and E.M. Hallerman. 2015. Extensive dispersal of Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) inferred from genetic marker data. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, In press.
  • Mogollón, B., A.M. Villamagna, E.A. Frimpong, and P.L. Angermeier. 2015. Mapping technological and biophysical capacities of watersheds to regulate floods. Ecological Indicators. Accepted, pending revision.


Last updated April, 2015