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Queen's University

Shelley Arnott - Associate Professor

arnott3.jpg Research: In my research I use empirical approaches to understand the factors that regulate the distribution and abundance of freshwater invertebrates. Using a combination of experimental studies and the analysis of spatial and temporal data, I investigate how local environmental conditions (biotic and abiotic) and dispersal influence biodiversity. I am also interested in determining what role biodiversity plays in maintaining ecosystem function and how biodiversity and function are influenced by the addition and removal of disturbances.

I have a strong interest in contributing to the study of conservation and recovery of aquatic ecosystems. Toward this end, I am especially interested in studying the influence multiple stressors, including climate change, invading species, and acidification, on aquatic ecosystems. These are currently some of the most pressing concerns for aquatic systems.

Recovery from Acidification:   Thousands of lakes in Ontario acidified in the mid-1900s because of acid rain caused by industrial emissions of sulphur dioxide.  Fortunately, legislative action in North America has resulted in reduced sulphur emissions and consequently, improved water quality in many lakes, especially near Sudbury and Killarney Park. Evidence of biological recovery, however, has been less clear. My students and I are exploring the possible mechanisms that are responsible for delayed biological recovery. We are investigating two main hypotheses: 1. Potential colonists are not arriving at the lakes from either resting stages historically deposited in lake sediments or from nearby lakes, and 2. Local biotic and abiotic conditions prevent the establishment of colonists.

Invasive Species:  Bythotrephes longimanus is an aquatic invertebrate predator that arrived in the Great Lakes from Eurasia in the mid-1980s.  Since then, it has invaded over 100 inland lakes in Ontario.  Research in my lab has indicated that Bythotrephes has a large impact on crustacean zooplankton communities, reducing species richness, abundance, and secondary production.  We are currently investigating the effect of Bythotrephes on fish growth and its interaction with native invertebrate predators, such as Mysis, Chaoborus,andLeptodora.

Climate Change:  Changes in the thermal structure of lakes are expected to occur with increasing climate change.  We are using long-term data and field experiments to determine the effect of different thermal stratification patterns on predator prey interactions.

»» Lab Website »« email: »« telephone: 613-533-6384 ««

Some Recent Publications:

  • Gray, D. K. and S. E. Arnott. The role of dispersal levels, Allee effects, and community resistance as zooplankton communities respond to environmental change.  Journal of Applied Ecology, in press.
  • Yuille, M.J., T. B. Johnson, S. E. Arnott, and L. M. Campbell.  2012. Hemimysis anomala in Lake Ontario food webs: stable isotopic analysis of nearshore communities.  Journal of Great Lakes Research 38 (Supplement 2): 86-92.
  • Gray, D. K., S. E. Arnott, J. A. Shead, and A. M. Derry. 2012.  The recovery of acid-damaged zooplankton communities in Killarney Park: the relative importance of environmental variables, biotic variables, and dispersal. Freshwater Biology 57:741-758.
  • Symons, C. C., S. E. Arnott, J. N. Sweetman. 2012.  Crustacean zooplankton communities exert low grazing pressure on phytoplankton communities in Subarctic lakes and ponds. Hydrobiologia 694:131-141.
  • Stasko, A., T. Patenaude, A. L. Strecker, and S. E. Arnott. 2012.  Portage connectivity does not predict establishment success of canoe-mediated dispersal for crustacean zooplankton. Aquatic Ecology 46:9-24.
  • MacLennan, M., S. E. Arnott, A. L. Strecker.  2012.  Differential sensitivity of planktonic trophic levels to extreme summer temperatures in Canadian Boreal lakes. Hydrobiologia 680: 11-23.
  • Gray, D. K. and S. E. Arnott. 2011.  The interplay between environmental conditions and Allee effects during the recovery of stressed zooplankton communities. Ecological Applications 21:2652–2663.
  • Symons, C. C., S. E. Arnott, J. N. Sweetman. 2011.  Nutrient limitation of phytoplankton in Subarctic lakes and ponds in Wapusk National Park, Canada. Polar Biology 35:481–489.
  • MacPhee, S., S. E. Arnott, and W. Keller. 2011.  Lake thermal structure influences macroinvertebrate predation on crustacean zooplankton.  Journal of Plankton Research 33:1586-1595.  
  • Jokela, A., S. E. Arnott, B. E. Beisner.  2011.  Patterns of Bythotrephes longimanus distribution relative to native macroinvertebrates and zooplankton prey.  Biological Invasions 13:2573-2594.
  • Pedruski, M. T. and S. E. Arnott.  2011.  The effects of habitat connectivity and regional heterogeneity on artificial pond metacommunities. Oecologia 166:221–228
  • Gray, D. K. and S. E. Arnott.  2011. Does dispersal limitation impact the recovery of zooplankton communities damaged by a regional stressor? Ecological Applications 21:1241-1256.
  • Strecker, A. L., B. E. Beisner, S. E. Arnott, A. M. Paterson, J. G. Winter, O. E. Johannsson, and N. D. Yan. 2011. Direct and indirect effects of an invasive planktonic predator on pelagic food webs. Limnology and Oceanography 56:179-192.


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000