Brigid O’Donnell is an Assistant Professor in PSU’s Biology Department. Principally, the focus of Brigid’s research program centers on understanding the development, life history and evolution of the large bodied and common mayfly, Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeroptera: Ephemeridae). We are studying a local population of H. limbata at Sky Pond (New Hampton, NH) that hatches reliably in late June/early July each year, and relish the opportunity to provide impromptu lessons in mayfly biology and water quality to the greater public at this busy fly-fishing site. A better understanding of the basic biology of this common and widespread mayfly is essential for eventual applied studies. For example, a firm grounding in the basic biology of this species is important in the development of novel approaches to biomonitor our valuable freshwater resources.
Additionally, we are tracking temporal changes in the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates at Johnson Brook (Nash Stream Forest, Coos County) following construction of new pools along its length by “chop and drop” techniques. Our collaboration with fish habitat biologist John Magee (NH F&G) and Rachel Whitaker (White Mts Community College) aims to determine the biotic impacts of the addition of large woody debris (LWD) on the macroinvertebrate community located in this small headwaters stream. We have sampled several reaches along Johnson Brook prior to the addition of LWD, and are have re-sampled these sites on an annual basis since these manipulations. Our collaboration and work with NH F&G is important for understanding how changes in habitat complexity can positively influence native eastern brook trout populations.
For more information on our research goals and to contact the O’Donnell lab, visit Brigid’s website.